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Choosing Accessible Books for Your Children

Choosing Accessible Books for Your Children by Barrington Stokes

At Barrington Stoke, we believe that everyone can be a reader. That’s not just something we include on our logo, it’s at the heart of everything we do. From the accessible font that is unique to our books, to the expert language edit that every book goes through, we are dedicated to ensuring that all children have the opportunity to discover a love of reading. There can be many reasons why a child doesn’t develop good literacy skills the first time around.

Barrington Stoke acquired by HarperCollins | Publishing Scotland



Our approach is designed by experts to combat these factors:

  • Dyslexia, which can make it hard to recognise and remember words and letters. Our font gives each letter a distinct shape and encourages the eye onwards. Our layout ensures there’s no crowding. Our paper minimises show-through.
  • Irlen Syndrome, where words and letters can seem to ‘jump around’. Our tinted pages reduce glare and visual stress and can still be used with coloured overlays.
  • Short attention spans, hyperactivity and reluctance can stop kids picking up a book at all. Our list includes lots of humour, sport and action themes, and we use fast-moving openings and cliff-hangers to reel them in and keep them reading.
  • Low self-esteem can heavily impact on reading confidence. We match content and design appropriate to a reader’s actual age with language at a younger level. Crucially, our authors are the mainstream bestsellers their peers are also reading. Our enticing covers make our books instantly engaging and free of stigma, with reading level information for adults hidden on the back cover.
  • EAL learners can find complex literary conventions confusing. We reduce these and pack our books with speech. Lots of our titles have illustrations throughout to aid comprehension and break up the text.


We know it can be daunting and stressful when reading is a challenge, and there can be many reasons why a child might struggle. If your child finds reading a challenge due to any of the aforementioned factors, it can be difficult to know where to start when picking the right book. So, how do foster a love of reading in your home?

Try not to get stressed about reading issues. Take a positive approach Read aloud, visit the library, rave about books and ensure adults are seen reading.

Separate learning to read from loving to read. Don’t let homework be their only experience of reading.

Let your child choose what they want to read. Reading is reading, whatever the format.

If they give a book a go and don’t like it, don’t insist they finish

Remember that children with poor recall may find multiple readings of the same text helpful and comforting.

Reading aloud to children boosts memory, vocabulary and listening skills. Read to them and let them read to you, there’s no ‘right’ age to stop.

Ask your child to cover all the words they can’t read on one page with a finger. Not enough fingers? The text is too difficult right now.


Barrington Stoke books are hi lo (high interest, low ability), meaning the content is appropriate to the age of the reader but the text is edited to suit a lower reading age. Our reading ages (RAs) range from 6 to 9 and our interest ages (IAs) from 5+ to 13+. When you view any title on our website you will find the RA and IA listed. Chapter samples are also available on our website, which can be particularly helpful when determining whether any particular book is at the right level and suitable style and content-wise for your child.

As well as all our fantastic fiction and non-fiction books, we offer a range of additional resources, including free, downloadable activities and posters; a Home Learning Help Pack and our Young Editors Scheme. We really value feedback from our readers, and Young Editors provides a fantastic opportunity for them to get involved and have a real impact on our publishing process. Involvement is free and provides a fun experience, promoting reading confidence and engagement. Download manuscripts before they are published, send us feedback, and help shape the final book.


Barrington Stoke Young Editors – Dorchester Middle School Library


We hope this has offered some useful guidance and support on where to start when choosing accessible books for your children. Please do contact us at barringtonstoke@harpercollins.co.uk if we can help with any more information.

With best wishes,

The Barrington Stoke Team

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