Supporting churches to include people with Autism and Learning Disabilties

Hello friends, it’s been a while!  I’ve been busy working and planning with little time to do much else.  Thankfully I have a guest blog for you today – all about dyslexia.

Bible

Aurora Betony is dyslexic and creates her own Bible reading sheets using images and text in her preferred version of the Bible.  She says…

I use images from it to create my own illustrated text versions of whichever Bible passage will be read out in my church each Sunday. I copy and paste the text from Bible Gateway. This lets me use my preferred translation (Contemporary English Version). I put the image on the left and the text on the right (in keeping with Easy Read practice). This lets me read the text along with complementary images. I read it through before the service, and then again when the passage is being read aloud in church.

I also find that the process of reconstructing the story (working out which bit of text goes with which picture) helps me start to learn the passage. Knowing in advance what the passage will be really helps me because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do this preparation. This is a reasonable adjustment many congregations could make, by posting a note on their website or social media.

I’m dyslexic.  Some dyslexic people find reading difficult.  However, my dyslexia doesn’t affect me much in this way – I can mostly read (decode words) accurately.  It’s taking in what I read that is the challenge for me.  So to help myself take in Bible content, I use various resources and techniques.  These are available for anyone who wishes to use them.  So I’d like to tell you about some of them here, and where you can find more.

3 resources that help me engage with the Bible

This lets me access my preferred translation (Contemporary English Version) in electronic print.

This provides images which I use along with text from Bible Gateway to create illustrated versions of Bible passages.  This lets me engage with the text and complementary pictures simultaneously.  The process of reconstructing the story (working out which bit of text goes with which picture) helps me start to learn the passage.

  • Visual recordings

Our Daily Bread Ministries: these are of passages from 1 Kings and 1 Timothy.

Bernie Quah’s: these are of passages from John’s Gospel.

Like the illustrated text versions I produce, visual recordings also present Bible passages in words and complementary pictures.  However, visual recording is quite different: the images are hand-drawn, colourful and simple and the text and images intermingle with each other.

3 techniques that help me engage with the Bible

  • Engaging with the Bible with others

– For example by contributing to the collaborative retelling of a Bible story, or by discussing Bible passages.

  • Gaining the gist of a passage before reading it in print

Visual recordings are especially useful for this as they give a visual summary of the whole passage on one page.

  • Dramatization: acting out a story, seeing it acted out by others, or reading or listening to a dramatized version

– I listen to an audio dramatization of the Contemporary English Version of the New Testament called ‘You’ve got the Time’.

– ‘The Dramatised Bible’[i] presents some passages from the Good News Bible and New International Version as a play script.  This helps me, even if I only read it myself interiorly and imagine it being read by different people.

More resources and techniques for engaging with the Bible

You can find these in a guide I’ve written, which is free to download at https://newroots.online/2017/07/31/top-tips-for-engaging-with-the-bible

Here are some endorsements of my guide

– “What a fantastic resource! It gathers lots of good, practical advice all in one place.”  Riding Lights Theatre Company

– “I LOVE this!”  Mike Breen, founder of 3 Dimensional Ministries, author

– “For people with dyslexia who find engaging with the Bible difficult, Aurora Betony offers some useful tips.”  Crown Court Church, London

Further information on dyslexia

Aurora Betony

[i] Edited by Michael Perry ISBN 978-0551017795

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