Dyslexia-friendly fiction

Dyslexia Awareness Week is Monday 7- Sunday 13 October 2024

I am really proud to have written the following dyslexia-friendly books for Barrington Stoke.

rugby poster image

This Barrington Stoke blog explains how they are dyslexia friendly.

Dyslexia storylines

Reading the GameMy Puffin children’s book Football Academy : Reading the Game is about a young footballer called Ben who is struggling with reading.
It has received some great reviews from
experts in the field:

“an excellent book that hits the button for all young footballers” Judith Sanson, Chair, Board of Directors, Dyslexia International

“I have just read the book in one sitting – I couldn’t put it down!! I’m no football enthusiast but the story rings so true. I have worked with severe dyslexics and know the shame some of them experience. Wonderful that you are creating literature for boys that is exciting, age appropriate but simple to read. Keep going!” Barbara Lowe, Hampshire Dyslexia Association

“I have passed this on to our centres and will recommend it to students. I would like to wish you well in your good work.” Shirley Cramer, Chief Executive Officer, Dyslexia Action

Reading the Game by Tom Palmer is a story about a young dyslexic boy who loves football. This is a fast moving story aimed at engaging the reluctant reader.Anne Powell, Medway & Mid-Kent Dyslexia House Association


IDead Lockedn Deadlocked,  (Book 3 of Rugby Academy) the main character, Owen is 15 and a struggling reader. Owen’s teacher gives him a book to read during the long flight from London and he has a churning worry “that he wouldn’t be able to finish it.”

Rating: 5/5 Read Book Bag’s  5 star review here.

“Tom, your books gave a real flavour of the game for dyslexia sufferers using kids who had real problems of their own to contend with.  I really did think that Owen not being a great reader was a stroke of genius: that’s something that kids with dyslexia will be able to relate to.  Superb.”  Bookbag

Sports Mad Barrington Stoke Book PosterResources

Download a poster of Barrington Stoke’s range of dyslexia-friendly sport books here.

My books are included in Dyslexia Action’s Book Guide for reluctant and dyslexic     readers here.

mybabaMy book Ghost Stadium is included in MYBABA’s Top Ten Books for Dyslexic Children. 




Rguardianead my Top 10 books for reluctant and dyslexic readers 

for The Guardian here.



 Dyslexia Friendly stickers

Tom “I had my best day as an author in Bridgend, south Wales, a few years ago. I had just delivered an event to a group of so-called reluctant readers in a sports centre.  A quiz. A talk about sports reading. Afterwards, twenty lads were letting off steam hammering a ball at a librarian who had volunteered to go in goal.

And I was talking to their teacher. She turned a copy of my book, Scrum, over and saw the Dyslexia Friendly sticker on the back.

‘What does that mean?’ she asked.

I told her. Barrington Stoke publish books that have been designed with special font, layout and page-colour (along with editing) that helps readers overcome many of the problems that dyslexia presents. The teacher pointed across at a boy. Rhys, she told me, was dyslexic He wanted to read. But it was very hard for him. It affected his self esteem, she said. A lot. She called Rhys over, putting the book in his hands.

‘What’s this?’ he asked her. Then glanced at me, looking uneasy.

‘Look at it,’ she insisted.

Rhys opened the book, eyes glazed over already. But then something changed. He focused on the page in front of him. Then stared at his teacher.

‘Miss,’ he said, his mouth open, ‘I can read this.’

I’ll never forget that moment.”

Letters from parents with dyslexic children

Tom “Every week or two I get an email from parents of dyslexic children. These are the last two I have received…

Dear Mr Palmer

I just wanted to write to tell you about my daughter, xxxx.  At the end of last term you visited her school,  where she met you and was really excited about your books.  For xxxx this is completely out of character, she is dyslexic and usually goes out of her way to avoid books.  I am a primary school teacher and for years I have shared books with her and bought any book that she showed the slightest interest in hoping that she would want to read it, however this has never happened.  So when she asked about your books, I had that same feeling of here we go again, I’ll waste some more money on a book that will simply sit on a shelf, but bought Combat Zone for her anyway.

In a bit of a mood the next day, xxxx took herself to her room and after about an hour I went looking for her, only to find her lying in bed reading her new book.  She didn’t come out of her room until it was finished.

I cried that day because it was the very first time she has voluntarily read a book, I have NEVER known her to read a whole book, let alone a whole book in one day. I was so proud of her and instead of that being enough she asked for another one too.  She is now reading Surface to Air.

Words can’t really express how I felt that day but I really just wanted to say a massive thank you for your books and for giving xxxx her first experience of a book being something to enjoy.

Thank you.

And this one … 

Hi Tom.

This is on behalf of my 10 year old son, xxxxx.  He is dyslexic and an avid rugby player, turning out for Blaydon RFC under 11s every week and is a massive fan of Newcastle Falcons.  Your books have formed a real connection with Jamie and, indeed, Scrum was the first big book that he had ever managed to read.  His teacher at the time was a massive influence and has done so much work to help Jamie along on his reading journey. As a thank you he presented his teacher with his copy of Scrum as an end of year gift. Cheers!


Buy Books

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Thank you.

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