High Interest Low Vocabulary

What kind of books should a 22-year-old man read?

Most young people in their 20s can read whatever they like, but for Justin, finding books to read at the Library was not very easy.

Justin and his family have been patrons at Millard Branch since he was a child, participating in Summer Reading Program and volunteering with the youth services staff. Like most kids, Justin’s interests changed as he grew older, but he couldn’t read at the level suggested for his age. Justin has Downs syndrome and reads at a kindergarten to first-grade level.

“It’s not appropriate for someone his age to be reading ducky and piggy books,” said Kim Bainbridge, Justin’s mother. “We could find books that he might enjoy, but Justin can’t find them on his own using the Dewey Decimal System.”

Kim envisioned a section of books at the Library for high-interest low vocabulary” readers, where people with various reading challenges (not just intellectual disabilities) could find books they want to read without having to search for something age-appropriate in the children’s section.

Working together with OPL staff, Kim and Justin provided feedback and helped develop the collection which is now available at all 12 branches.

It didn’t take long before Kim heard from other parents who were excited about the new selections available to their children. “Many parents had given up,” said Kim. “Now we just need to let them know what is available and continue to increase the number of books.”

View the Literacy Collection in our online catalog.

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