Dylxesia is cracaeeitrhsd by dfliiutfcy with lnrnaeig to raed flulntey dstipee nmoarl iitcelnlngee.

If you found it difficult to read that phrase, you can start to understand how people with dyslexia feel each time they open a book.

This is set to change, though, with the first Maltese fiction reader for children with a font that, rather than being dyslexia-friendly, is designed for people with dyslexia.

Merlin Publishers will soon be publishing Għand Rebus Totall, from the new series Is-Saħħar ta’ Petut by Clare Azzopardi, using this font, which was created following research that lasted nearly a decade.

Parents and teachers often ask for books that are specifically for children with dyslexia – a common reading condition that negatively impacts many children’s ability to share in the joy of reading, Merlin director Chris Gruppetta told the Times of Malta.

However, the size of the Maltese market meant it was not feasible to have different editions of a book – one with regular and another with dyslexia-friendly fonts.

Dr Gruppetta was always reluctant to use dyslexia-friendly fonts, which, while possibly useful, were “horrid to look at”.

He “strongly” believes that a book should also look appealing and inviting to readers, especially children, so Merlin has been on the lookout for a proper and easy-on-the-eyes dyslexia-friendly font, scouting various international book fairs. The publishers recently came across a font, Easy Reading, backed by extensive research and testimonials from foreign children’s publishers.

Dr Gruppetta said that, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for, and this font is covered by a licence fee per title.

“A free or cheap font might sound politically correct and get bandied about as ‘dyslexia-friendly’, but the real thing – backed by research and executed in minute detail – will be a much better solution for children with dyslexia”.


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