- How to use the app
- How to read the stories
- Definition of a learning disability
- Further information and contact details
Beyond Words produces books, eBooks and other resources for people who find it easier to understand pictures than words.
Books Beyond Words use pictures to tell stories that engage and empower people, across a broad range of themes. This app contains short ‘stories’, each between two and nine pictures in length.
The nine main subject areas are displayed on the home page: health, behaviour, healthy living, criminal justice, young people, abuse and trauma, accessing services, lifestyle and relationships and mental health and grief.
To find a story, choose the appropriate category and click through the options that follow. You can also search for keywords using the search bar at the top of the screen. Each route will take you to a list of relevant stories from across the Books Beyond Words series. If you are using the free version of this app, some stories may appear greyed out with a padlock next to them. These stories are available in the full paid-for version of the app.
It is also possible to subscribe for access to complete books via the app’s bookshelf. Details can be found at: www.booksbeyondwords.co.uk/bw-story-app
In the bottom left corner of the screen there is an information button. Pressing this button at different stages in the app will offer different information.
There is specific information on each of the nine main subject areas. Press the information button after selecting the category to read this. Depending on the subject there may be more information text available at succeeding levels of navigation. There will also be a guide on how best to read the pictures, for anyone who is new to Books Beyond Words.
Once you have chosen and clicked on a story, pressing the information button will provide you with a suggested storyline for the sequence of pictures. The storyline is for readers and supporters who want some ideas about one possible story. Most readers make up their own story from the pictures. We suggest that you start reading the story with the first picture.
In the bottom right hand corner of the screen there is a button that will take you to the Beyond Words bookshop. Here you can browse the full range of Beyond Words books and eBooks.
There is no right or wrong way to read the stories. They can be read on your own, with one to one support or in a group. First here are some ideas about reading them one to one.
1. Some people are not used to reading stories. Start at the beginning and read the story in each picture. Encourage the reader to move through the pages at their own pace.
2. Encourage the person to tell the story in their own words. You will discover what they think is happening, what they already know, and how they feel. If you are using the pictures to help explain a procedure to someone, you may need to describe or clarify the actions being shown in each picture to help them understand. Try not to challenge the reader(s) or suggest their ideas are wrong.
3. Some pictures may be more difficult to understand. It can help to prompt the people you are supporting, for example:
- Who do you think that is?
- What is happening?
- How is he or she feeling?
- Do you feel like that? Has it happened to you/ your friend/ your family?
4. Allow people enough time to follow the pictures at their own pace. Allow time for discussion of each picture.
5. Some people may want to read the whole story from which the extract has been taken. This will allow them to explore their feelings and experiences in more depth. To buy the complete book, follow the link to the bookshop that appears at the end of the story.
Secondly here are some suggestions for reading them in a group either in the community, such as in a library with a social group; in a school as an enrichment activity or in a therapy group.
1. The same general principles apply as when reading one to one, but in a group it's important for everyone to have a chance to read one of the pictures and have their voice heard.
2. Members of a group may want to share their own experiences of the story being read. Allow time for the group to discuss their different experiences and different interpretations of what is happening in the story. Reading social stories together helps to develop friendships as people discover shared interests and experiences.
3. Reading the short scenarios on a tablet may help the group to decide which full stories they would like to read, either electronically or in print.
Several groups across the country are currently running Books Beyond Words book clubs. You can find out more about these clubs on our website. We have also put together a guide on setting up a Books Beyond Words book club which you can download for free.
Our books help a wide range of people who understand pictures better than words, but their main audience is people with a learning disability, also known as an intellectual or developmental disability in other parts of the world.
This is a lifelong disability that may affect thinking, learning, emotional (adaptive) functioning and independent living skills. This sort of disability is distinct from a specific processing impairment, like dyslexia or attention deficit disorder. In the UK these impairments are typically referred to as “learning difficulties”, but this term is also preferred by some people with developmental disability, so the meaning is becoming blurred as people self-define.
As well as the primary audience, the books are often useful to people with low levels of literacy or specific processing impairment (“learning difficulties”, as per the traditional definition above), as well as people with sensory disabilities, other communication disorders (e.g. associated with dementia), and second language users.
Beyond Words are grateful to all of the artists who have worked with us to produce the Books Beyond Words series.
Tel: 020 7492 2559
For a small annual subscription fee you can unlock all of the stories in the app. To subscribe, click on the "Subscribe for access" button below and follow the instructions on screen. If you have already subscribed please log in with the username and password that you used to create your account.