New 'dyslexia-friendly' Bible makes scripture accessible for all

Jacob James and his family with the Gospel of Mark.Bible Society/Clare Kendall

Two books of the Bible (The Gospel of Mark and the Psalms) have been produced in a dyslexia-friendly version. The move, by Bible Society, comes at the start of Dyslexia Awareness Week (5-11 October).

One in 10 people in Britain have dyslexia, which can affect both reading and writing.

The Bible can be a particularly difficult book for people with dyslexia to read because it has thin paper, showing words on both sides of the page, and traditionally uses a small point size.

The new books use thick, cream paper, a large point size with a simple Sans Serif typeface and one column of text per page.

Thirteen-year-old Jacob James from Lewes in East Sussex has dyslexia. He says, "It was hard to read normal books. Words would be all fuzzy and they moved.

"With this version of the Gospel of Mark there was a bigger spacing between the verses which I liked and it was bigger writing. I liked that the verse numbers were bigger so it was easier to find the verses.

"I was able to read it for longer than a normal book. It depends what I¹m reading for how long I can read.

"Sometimes I could read for 20 minutes, but when I'm reading Michael Morpurgo I would be able to read until I have to do something else.

"Reading this Gospel of Mark was like that. I could read it because it was easier and so I could read it for longer, so I read until I had to stop to do something else like have my tea. I enjoyed it."

His mum, Ruth, said: "To make the Bible accessible is really important. If you can't pick up the Bible and learn more yourself, then you can't grow in your faith. We would like to see the rest of the Bible produced like this."

Ten-year-old Cara Gatiss from Cambridge said that the Gospel of Mark was "much easier to read" than other books.

"Usually the other books have small fonts and letters," she said. "But this has a bigger font and has different-coloured paper to make it easier to read."

Her mum, Kerry, said, "I thought this was better than normal books. I was amazed at how well Cara read initially. It was like she was properly reading. I was amazed."

Matthew Van Duyvenbode from Bible Society said: "We're hugely encouraged by the early responses to these books. People are telling us that they¹ve been wanting this for years and asking when we're going to do the whole Bible.

"We don't know the answer to that one yet, but we really hope that the Gospel of Mark and the Psalms open up part of the Bible to a whole sector of our community who couldn't read it before."

The Gospel of Mark costs £3.99 and the Psalms £5.99. They are available from Bible Society.