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Recommended Reading for Teens With LD

Teens with Learning Disabilities - BooklistBooks by, about, and for young and older teens with learning disabilities offer readers valuable stories and guidance. Check out the following books, a mixture of fiction and nonfiction, when you want to give your teen something special to read. My Thirteenth Winter: A Memoir by Samantha Abeel
Abeel writes of her life with dyscalculia, a learning disability that affects her learning of skills based on sequential processing – especially math, spelling and grammar. She writes frankly about her mental and emotional struggles to cope; while she looked like a “normal” child, she was unable to tell time, count change, or remember her locker combination.

Caged in Chaos: A Dyspraxic Guide to Breaking Free by Victoria Biggs
Written by a teenage girl with dyspraxia, a disorder that affects fine-motor skills and often co-occurs with LD, this is a positive, practical guide for teens struggling with the social, physical and psychological troubles caused by developmental coordination disorders. In a conversational style, with great empathy for others in her situation, Biggs describes both the primary effects of her learning difference—disorganization, clumsiness and poor short-term memory—and the bullying, low self-esteem and loneliness she endures.

ADHD in HD: Brains Gone Wild by Jonathan Chesner
A writer with AD/HD shares his experiences and offers practical advice to readers who might also have brains that are wired differently. From garish cover to hyperactive format, the design of the book imitates the author’s brain—lots of bright yellow, more than 60 short chapters on distinct topics like dating, homework, and family life, and many photographs, drawings and speech bubbles.

Positively ADD: Real Success Stories to Inspire Your Dreams by Catherine A Corman, and Edward M. Hallowell
Profiles of 17 successful adults who began dealing with ADD during childhood, including political strategist James Carville, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, a major league pitcher and a young Rhodes scholar. A list of resources and an informative question-and-answer section round out an encouraging, helpful book for teens with ADD and for their parents, teachers and friends.

Applying to College for Students with ADD or LD: A Guide to Keep You (And Your Parents) Sane, Satisfied, and Organized Through the Admissions Process by Blythe Grossberg
Specifically tailored for teens with ADD or LD, this guide breaks down the college application process into manageable steps—from determining personalized criteria for college and narrowing down college choices, to developing a strong portfolio and application, as well as asking for references, requesting financial aid and preparing for interviews.

Where’s My Stuff? The Ultimate Teen Organizing Guide by Samantha Moss and Lesley Schwartz
Many teens with learning disabilities find it highly challenging to stay organized. This illustrated guide offers practical advice on how to organize schoolwork, lockers, bedrooms and schedules.

Survival Guide for College Students with ADHD or LD by Kathleen Nadeau
This Survival Guide is a great reference book – one that will help college students to become stronger self-advocates. It includes lots of practical tips and recommendations, including how to manage time, use day planners, improve memory, become active learners, organize study spaces and overcome procrastination.

It’s So Much Work to Be Your Friend: Helping the Child with Learning Disabilities Find Social Success by Richard Lavoie
Veteran special education teacher Lavoie offers help to parents who want to help their children with learning disabilities overcome social skill deficits. Lavoie stresses communication and patience as parents guide their children through the maze of social interactions encountered daily, from arranging successful play dates and navigating the social challenges of school, to language difficulties, social anxieties and family issues.

Learning Disabilities: The Ultimate Teen Guide by Penny Hutchins Paquette and Cheryl Gerson Tuttle
This highly readable guide offers teens a solid base of information about learning disabilities, including definitions, coping strategies, tips on interpreting test results, legal considerations, and post-secondary school options. Each chapter includes a description of how it feels to have a particular disability, symptoms, practical suggestions, and resources. Profiles, success stories and quotes are sprinkled throughout.

Bluefish by Pat Schmatz
An award-winning novel about an eighth-grade boy who can’t read. Now living with an alcoholic grandfather and starting a new school, Travis finds an unusual friend and a determined teacher who both help him unlock the power of literature.

Dyslexia Wonders by Jennifer Smith
Jennifer, who has dyslexia, struggles with schoolwork and feels misunderstood by teachers, classmates and family members. In her own words, she describes how she felt when she was identified with dyslexia, how she copes with being different from her peers and how she deals with daily challenges.

College Success for Students with Learning Disabilities by Cynthia Simpson and Vicky Spencer
As high school students with LD start to think about college, how do they go about planning for their college years? There are no IEPs in college, so a student’s skills in self-advocacy become even more important. This book provides guidance and practical strategies specifically for students with learning disabilities so that they can make the most of their college experience.

ADHD and Me: What I Learned from Lighting Fires at the Dinner Table by Blake E. S Taylor
A memoir by a young man first diagnosed with ADHD at age five. Taylor speaks with authority to fellow teens and their families about learning to cope with his condition. He’s learned to see his neurological differences as a mixed blessing: he’s obsessive and easily distracted, but, when channeled towards a good cause, also hyperfocused and creative.

Backwards Forward: My Journey through Dyslexia by Catherine Hirschman
A fine, informative, and compassionate firsthand account of dyslexia co-written by a young adult with LD and her mother. The authors offer a very personal window into their lives, beginning in the early childhood years and continuing through adulthood. Of special interest will be how the daughter describes the ways in which her struggles with dyslexia affected her relationship with friends and family.



Bonnie Z. Goldsmith has worked in the field of education throughout her professional life. She has wide experience as a writer, editor and teacher.

Tags: grade9-12

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