The aim of the 'Reading the Way consultative project was to:
OIW were particularly interested in finding books that were distinctly different from anything being produced in the UK and that would enrich the mainstream book landscape – books which demonstrated exceptionally good practice, suiting many (currently unsupported) needs, for example through language, illustrations, symbols, braille or tactile illustrations. The project also sought to identify books which featured disability or disabled characters in a new or particularly positive way.
Although the primary aim of the project was to identify the 'exceptional' in inclusive or accessible books, a secondary aim existed, that of being able to generate a longer list of suitably assessed titles relevant to disability, and to collect feedback and knowledge from them. These might be books which (whilst not all necessarily representing excellence) might offer valuable learning points for the UK children’s book publishing industry. The two types of books we were interested in were:
Accessible books – books which might be particularly relevant to those with speech and language difficulties, learning difficulties, autism, physical or sensory impairments. This might include language illustrations, pictorial symbols (such as PCS or Widget symbols) and braille or tactile illustrations.
Inclusive books – books which include a particularly positive portrayal of disabled children or adults, either through the visual images (if a picture book) or through the story. What is important is that the message about disability is particularly positive and/or the way in which disability has been depicted is especially unusual and effective.