A type font helps dyslexics become better readers

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COLUMBIA - People with dyslexia now have an additional option for making reading easier.

Dyslexie is a font specifically tailored to individuals with dyslexia. Each letter has slightly altered shapes compared to a standard font.

The target audience is large in size, as approximately one in every 10 people in the world is dyslexic.

Cathy Cook, president of OnPoint Learning Center in Columbia, works with students who are dyslexic. She is familiar with the font and how it can help dyslexic people.

"They're creating letters that have different size openings and different thicknesses of the lines to help distinguish the letters that are easily confused," she said.

Two letters commonly confused are "b" and "d," Cook said. The font distinguishes the two letters by differentiating each letters' loop.

Cook said the "b" is angled at the top of the loop, but is still round on the bottom. Conversely, the "d" is angled at the bottom of the loop, but still has a round top.

"You have to remember which shape goes with which letter," Cook said. "For some people that makes a lot of sense."

But at OnPoint, Cook said, they do not use the font. Instead, said she likes to have students mold the letters of the alphabet out of clay.

"People with dyslexia are really good at creating and using their hands," Cook said. "When somebody makes the alphabet, then they've created it. It becomes theirs."

She said it helps students give meaning to each individual letter, to help better distinguish each letter.

"What we are doing is getting rid of the triggers," Cook said. "We want to eliminate the reason that the letter would be disorienting to somebody."

Although OnPoint does not use the Dyslexie font, Cook said each student has his or her way of learning and others find the font helpful.

Dyslexie is available free to home users and is sold to schools and businesses.