Discovering Reading With Dyslexia

Jess Henderson

I've always been a big lover of reading, in particular reading fantasy. I started reading Lord Of The Rings at age 10 and my favorite teacher in primary school was the librarian who introduced me to Harry Potter. So I always imagined myself finding a partner who would share my love of reading. I imagined we'd quietly spend afternoons curled up reading our favorite novels. However, when I met my now husband Jason and eagerly asked him about what books he enjoyed reading, I learned about his struggle with Dyslexia.

His experience of reading in school always brought up emotions of frustration and even anger. Those familiar teenage feelings of not being smart enough or good enough would always be brought up by the idea of reading. Whereas for me, reading was a magical escape, full of wonder and imagination.

It wasn't until he was an adult that he learned more about Dyslexia as the information around learning difficulties within the education system had progressed dramatically after we graduated from high school. We discovered that while it is a challenge, that it also explained why he might be REALLY good at other things - like designing and building (he has made most of the furniture in our house). Check out this video for more on this.

It also wasn't until adulthood that audiobooks and podcasting really began to take off. I remember coming home to tell him that I'd bought Harry Potter on Audible and that finally he was going to be able to join me in the land of my obsessive Potter fandom. For Jason, audiobooks finally opened up a whole world that had felt closed for so long. There was a way for him to enjoy storytelling that didn’t bring all the memories of him staring at the words jumbled on the page or the triggering moments when he had to read aloud in class. Granted, he now mostly enjoys nonfiction books on astrophysics and modern history whereas I'm currently reading the latest Brandon Sanderson, but finally my picture of being curled up with my partner on the couch reading has come to life. 

This is partly why we were both so drawn to this project, (I got involved in writing the music and Jason built the website that you are on right now). We wanted young people to be able to discover the joy of reading, even if they struggle with learning difficulties, or simply just haven't found reading to be something they enjoy. It was important to all of us that The Color of Music would not only have beautiful imagery and soundscape to go with the story, but also an audiobook experience that could combine it all!

If you have a child or young person in your world that is struggling to enjoy reading, this might be the platform for them. You can listen to the first chapter of TCOM right here. Let us know if you'd love more books like this! We'd LOVE your feedback to make this experience really engaging.