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A leading dyslexia expert in the Midlands has created the perfect gift guide for helping youngsters improve their literacy skills this Christmas.

Dr Daryl Brown, headteacher at Maple Hayes Dyslexia School in Lichfield, Staffordshire, has recommended that parents avoid giving books this Christmas if their child has dyslexia, and instead look at alternative presents that can aid their literacy, reading and writing skills.

“When it comes to finding gifts for children with literacy problems, there are lots of better options than books,” explained Dr Brown. “Reading a book is somewhat of a chore for dyslexics, as it can be frustrating when they come across a word or a sentence they have difficulty understanding.

“Parents and relatives who aren’t quite sure what to buy for a child who has dyslexia or literacy difficulties might find that one of my suggestions fits the bill perfectly and helps improve the youngster’s reading and writing.”

Dr Brown’s Christmas gift guide:

Audio books

Films are brilliant for storytelling but not so good for developing language skills. When a book is turned into a film, for example, there is a lot of detail that gets left out. An audio book on the other hand is a great solution as it offers the listener every word and nuance, exposing them to language and vocabulary that are appropriate for their age. Of course, the fact that they have to be purchased digitally is a key benefit in 2020.

Magazine subscriptions

Where literacy is concerned, it is important to engage children with something that interests them. Choose an online magazine that combines compelling content with a good proportion of pictures - this will encourage children with dyslexia to try and read the stories and captions rather than thinking of it as a challenge to overcome. Comics and graphic novels are brilliant for this too.

Fountain pen

A stylish fountain pen is timeless and makes for a wonderful gift - you could even get it engraved. Cursive handwriting makes every letter feel different and with a fountain pen, there is a considerable difference between the upstroke and downstroke when forming letters so this is really helpful for learning correct spellings.

Working alongside his father Dr Neville Brown (who is also the founder of Maple Hayes Dyslexia School), Dr Daryl Brown has co-created a unique approach to teaching literacy called the ‘morphological approach’, using icons to make a visual link between meaning and spelling instead of pupils being taught using phonics.

For further information about Maple Hayes Dyslexia School, visit

PR by Reeves Public Relations agency in Birmingham and Newcastle.

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