Working with Children to Create Better Literacy Materials

By Myra Thiessen.

Published by The International Journal of Design Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Preference for graphic material plays a large role in which books children will choose to read and how much time they will spend practicing their literacy skills. As fluent readers, it is difficult to know how a child engages with the materials they are meant to be learning from during the beginning stages of their literacy acquisition; even more difficult is understanding what it feels like for a child who struggles with reading due to dyslexia. Designers cannot expect to produce effective materials for an audience they do not know or understand; yet, literacy materials continue to be generated by fluent adult readers with very little consultation of their young and inexperienced audience. By simply asking children and involving them in the design process, we can improve our understanding of how the presentation of content in reading books for children influences their motivation to read, and how to improve the ease and efficiency with which children who struggle are able to gain fluency. This paper provides a practical example using empirical research methods and shows how valuable it can be to engage children in the role of a type of co-designer when generating literacy materials for them.

Keywords: Reading Materials, Literacy Development, Dyslexia

The International Journal of Design Education, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 631.633KB).

Dr. Myra Thiessen

Lecturer in Visual Communication, School of Art, Architecture, and Design, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia