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5 Fun Dyscalculia and Dyslexia Books for Children

Does your child struggle in school? Brain-wiring differences like dyscalculia and dyslexia can often leave your child with a ‘hidden workload’ that teachers and parents don’t always see or understand.

Gary and Maths, written by Bridget Mather-Scott and her son Will, dives into Gary’s world of mathematics. Written from a child’s point of view, Gary takes us on a learning adventure where he problem-solves, puts out fires, and collects coins along the way! This is a must-read for parents looking for dyscalculia and dyslexia books for their children!

Meet Bridget and Will

Bridget, an accomplished author and Early Years teacher, recognized the challenges many children face when it comes to early math. Even after stepping out of the classroom, her dedication to supporting children led her to embark on a journey of writing books to make a positive impact. While resources for students facing challenges in phonics were abundant, the same couldn’t be said for those dealing with math difficulties.

This is where the seed of Bridget’s debut book began to grow. Her goal was to make schemes and rhymes to help children remember number formation and make this content accessible to diverse learners.

To achieve this, Bridget ingeniously integrated repeated numbers within the narrative. This approach allowed children not only to read the numbers but also visualize them, aided by distinct colors and characters associated with each number. Bridget’s intention was to ensure that every child could grasp the concept of numbers without any feelings of exclusion.

Two-years and 4 books later, Bridget asked her son, Will, to help her write and illustrate her 5th book Gary and Maths.

Will, criquet and guitar lover, collaborated with his mom in crafting and illustrating this book because he struggles with dyslexia. Their joint effort aims to shed light on the extra time some children require to solve seemingly straightforward math problems. It’s important to recognize that children with dyslexia and dyscalculia face additional steps to arrive at the same solution as their peers.

Stereotype of Learning Differences

As a parent and a teacher, Bridget noticed common stereotypes that people hold against dyslexic and dyscalculic students. Common beliefs like “Oh, dyslexic students just can’t spell” and “Dyscalculic students just can’t add” are harmful because they oversimplify the complexity of these unique brain-wiring differences.

Bridget is especially passionate about sharing that learning differences influence working memory and short-term memory, revealing that children may struggle to retain all instructions, particularly when they’re overwhelmed with information. With working memory, it’s crucial to allow children ample time to process the information.

Through Gary and Maths, Bridget’s goal was to show behind the scenes of the cognitive process involved in mathematics.

It’s not just a single step for dyscalculic and dyslexic learners to reach the answer of 3 x 12, but rather a multi-step journey encompassing various math problems that Gary navigates.

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Some children automatically come to the answer of 36, while others go through multiple steps and math problems to come to that same answer. Will wanted other children to know that they aren’t alone in finding math difficult.

How the Brain Learns

Bridget’s book follows the Information Processing Model, in other words, how the brain learns. There is a tiny part of your brain, called the Amygdala, whose job is to keep you safe.

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The Amygdala is looking for things that are scary. So, when you have a teacher who is yelling “Hurry up, you’re going too slow!” your brain will start to shut down. Your working memory isn’t as efficient and you’ll be even slower at the task.
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These fire dudes were the original drawings that inspired Bridget and Will to write Gary and Maths.

Will came up with this idea from his personal experience; when he gets told to hurry up chaos and panic start to set in. He says it’s like the answer is the fire extinguisher and every time he gets told to ‘hurry up’ more and more fires start in his mind and he can’t get to the answer or put out any of the fires.

This is why at Made for Math, we create environments where the kids feel safe and aren’t rushed to get the answers. Learning that it’s okay to make mistakes is vital to growth. A student who makes mistakes actually learns more than one who gets the answer on the first try.

Read: Why Failure is Good for Learning

Behind the Illustrations

Will’s drawings are the inspiration behind the amazing illustrations in the book. He started off by drawing the fire dudes followed by Gary. Amelie Kerslake was then sent Will’s drawings and she was able to animate them and turn his drawings into digital files. Check out a few of these awesome side-by-sides of Will and Amelie’s work!

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Check Out Bridget’s Other Books!

Bridget’s 4th book Ollie O’Clock, goes on a journey of telling time. Ollie shows kids that telling time on an analog clock doesn’t have to be intimidating and anyone can learn to tell the time.

It is super helpful for kids to see that the clock is just an organizational system, like a number line, that goes in a circle.

You can purchase your copy of Ollie O’Clock from our affiliate link here

You can check out Bridget’s other children’s books here.

What’s Next for Bridget and Will?

If you were worried they were stopping with their dyscalculia and dyslexia books with Gary and Maths, fret not!

Bridget and Will currently have two other books in the pipeline. Gary and Science will be looking at short-term memory and forgetfulness. While Gary and English will be centered on not judging students by their written answers as it doesn’t always reflect the knowledge and imagination that they actually have.

You can connect with Bridget through her website here.

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Updates for the life of the product!

MFM Authors

Jennie Miller

Jennie Miller

Marketing Assistant

is our Marketing Assistant and content creator here at Made for Math. Jennie loves being part of a company that is working to make mathematics accessible to children with dyscalculia.