Library Offers Helpful Resources for Dyslexia

Xavier and Luca with the book, Discovering My Dyslexia Superpowers

Xavier and Luca with the book "Discovering My Dyslexia Superpowers"

Dyslexia has been defined as a language-based learning difference that can affect a person’s ability to read and spell. It varies greatly with each individual but has no connection to intellectual ability. And there are ways to confront the challenge while harnessing a person’s strengths to excel in school and life. 

Johnson County Library Youth Information Specialist Tami Thomas is passionate about offering resources for patrons with dyslexia.  

“We can help parents and kids find books at the appropriate reading level for reading practice, as well as at the appropriate interest level to help build their vocabulary and knowledge base,” she said. “Reading is reading, whether it’s print or audio books or graphic novels.” 

Another wonderful resource is now available from Megan Nicolas, an Overland Park mom and Corinth Library branch patron, who has authored a graphic novel, along with illustrator Emmanuel Ifeanacho, geared to encouraging children with dyslexia.  

The book, Discovering My Dyslexia Superpowers, is now available for purchase. It was inspired by Nicolas’ twin sons Luca and Xavier, and by Luca’s own experience with dyslexia. Luca got specialized reading intervention, is thriving, and now loves to read.  

“This is our way to bring about awareness and encourage families,” Nicolas said. “Oftentimes families don’t know what to do or where to turn and seem burdened by the difficulties that can accompany dyslexia. We want to help normalize the diagnosis and help children see that their brains are amazing, perhaps because they have dyslexia.” 

Luca and Xavier are now 9 years old. When Luca was 6 years old, Nicolas realized he was having difficulty reading, even though he was very creative and had great problem-solving skills. After a psychologist identified dyslexia, Luca got extra reading instruction and now tackles 400-page books. 

Nicolas realizes that isn’t everyone’s story, but she believes her family’s experience can enlighten others. In spring 2021, she and her boys read a children’s book about dyslexia that seemed to emphasize the difficulties. The boys suggested writing a book with a very hopeful message, about children finding their own superpowers.  

Nicolas is an occupational therapist and had no experience as an author. But she took her sons’ suggestion to heart, wrote the book, and through connections found a publisher, Argyle Fox Publishing. Argyle brought in Ifeanacho as illustrator, and Nicolas was thrilled with how the images complement the text. She hopes the book can reassure and motivate other children and families. 

Thomas learned a lot about dyslexia and successful educational strategies while homeschooling her child with dyslexia. “There are science-based methods of teaching,” she said.  

Thomas joined Johnson County Library six years ago as a page and now works at the Blue Valley branch as a youth information specialist. She has created helpful dyslexia-related book displays and has compiled great catalog lists of books, movies and TV for all ages. 

As a parent resource, she recommends The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan by Ben Foss. For fun books with a dyslexic main character she recommends two series by Henry Winkler (yes, the actor who played The Fonz), who is dyslexic himself: the Here’s Hank series (for ages 6-8) and the Hank Zipzer series (ages 8-12).  

Thomas recommends audio books for children with dyslexia, and Johnson County Library can really help. “That is one of the great things the Library has,” she said. “We have a big selection of CD and eAudio books.”