According to data from Yale University, approximately one in five people struggle with dyslexia – a general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols. And so it’s no surprise that the high school graduation rate for children with specific learning disabilities (of which dyslexia is among the most common) is 68%, while the graduation rate in the population as a whole has topped 80%.

Dyslexia is a learning disability that crosses racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines. There is no “cure,” but along with proper instruction, accommodations can remediate the condition. Alongside an ever-expanding world of tech-based “apps” designed to assist dyslexics (such as advanced text editors), an old and established tool – recorded books – can be a very useful tool to get the printed word to those who have difficulty with that medium.

There’s only one problem…the availability of academic texts!

While audiobooks of popular titles are widely available, more limited are programs that actually invite high school and college students to submit their textbooks to be recorded. One such organization is the Recording Library of West Texas, which recently reached out to the Junior League of Midland for help through JLM’s new Volunteers in Midland placement program.

With a focus area of “Keeping Kids in School – Every Age, Every Stage,” JLM was initially skeptical of how the Recording Library could fit into that mission. But when League members found out about the textbook program, they realized the fit was perfect. In July, 16 JLM members volunteered for a total of 43 hours, contributing to projects such as the completion of a culinary textbook and a grammar book.

The efforts have been a fitting counterpart to JLM’s Reading Olympics literacy program for elementary-aged children, and a wonderful way to encourage student success while helping to build a better community!