Large Print Books Aren't Just for Grandma Anymore

In 1998 the late Dorothy Palmer generated a $500 donation from the Antelope Valley Senior Workshop Inc. in Walker to buy adult large print books for the bookmobile. Now a summary of studies published by educational and scientific journals, supplemented by research conducted by teachers, records many benefits for struggling or reluctant readers using large print material. In the current testing frenzy, some teachers have posted higher scores by enlarging the print of tests - both standardized and those that they created.

They point out that large print tests ensure that academic abilities are tested, not the students' visual abilities. Regardless of the reason, younger readers benefit from larger font sizes - 14 point or 16 point - not because they have visual difficulties, but because they are still struggling with the process of reading.

Larger fonts force the eye to move more slowly, allowing students to track their reading more easily. A larger survey of 708 general education teachers at both elementary and high school levels confirmed that large-print tests gave favorable results. Serif fonts (in contrast to "san [sic] serif" fonts) aid struggling readers by making the words more legible.. This finding also explains why some older readers have struggled with the highly advertised Large Print Book clubs, often coping with 500 pages of text using the san serif fonts.

It is customary in publishing to reserve them for captions and titles. Another advantage is the corresponding amount of white space between lines, known as leading. Teachers found that the leading helps children keep their place more effectively and eliminates the distraction of skipping lines. Thorndike Publishers and the Readers Digest were popular pioneers in this expanding field.

"Love Your Library Month" may be a good time to add large print books to the wish lists of Mono County's library outlets and others.

From the "Record-Courier", Feb 9, 2005. located in Gardnerville, NV