I can read clearly now…
Image above: St Peter’s service sheet for 6 June showing the special font.
16 June 2021
St Peter’s Onehunga produces an 8-page service sheet for its congregation every week. A great way to include everyone in the liturgy you might think, and save people fumbling with hymns books and prayer books.
However, they discovered that the printed service sheet did actually exclude one group of people with a specific non-physical disability – dyslexia.
Readers with dyslexia perceive words and letters as pictures. This makes the typeface of the fonts we commonly use difficult for them to read easily. They may rotate letters or exchange letters – confusing ‘b’ with ‘d’ or ‘p’ with ‘q’ for instance.
The church administrator heard that there were fonts designed specifically for people with dyslexia and soon found out about ‘OpenDyslexic’. This font is an open-source typeface freely available for download. Letters are thicker at the bottom, with unique shapes and longer ‘sticks’ that help prevent confusion. Bold punctuation and capital letters make the beginning and end of sentences clearer. Overall, the font makes reading easier for people with dyslexia and takes less effort.
Now at St Peter’s at the end of a print run of service sheets, the regular font is switched to OpenDyslexic and copies are printed off for those who need them.
It just goes to show – not all disabilities are physical, and it doesn’t take much to make church services more accessible for those who struggle to read.