Adventures on the American Frontier: Dyslexia Versions
An American History Series for Children with Dyslexia and Other Visual Processing Problems
The Adventures on the American Frontier series is a collection of books that introduce children to some of the people who made a difference in the shaping of America, many of whom never get mentioned in traditional history textbooks.
These illustrated books contain a variety of modifications for children with reading disorders. They are published in a special dyslexia-friendly font (called OpenDyslexia), with short lines and generous space between the lines. Each spread of two pages contains a QR code that will allow readers to hear a lively reading of the text so that they can follow along. Varying between the third- and eighth-grade reading levels, the books offer children a rich and rewarding way to get over the reading hump while learning about the pioneers, explorers, and adventurers who helped to form this great nation.
There are fifteen sets of books being produced for this series, each one comprised of its own small series of anywhere from two to ten books. Although the books in each small series are numbered in sequence, each title also works as a standalone book, allowing readers the opportunity to select single titles of interest or the entire set, which is offered at a reduced price over purchasing each part independently. Note, however, that important terms are defined or explained in the first place they appear, and the stories build upon one another, making the reading of the books in chronological order a more rewarding experience for children who are new to the topic (or for adults who are embarking on new learning journeys with the children).
Each small series is derived from a single novel of the same name. The novels are printed in a standard font with a typical formatting style and no audio feature for readers who do not wish to have these special editions but who want to enjoy the stories, too. Click here for the novels in standard font.
New sets of books will be added to this list as they become available, so check back often!
Explorers in a New World
The discovery of America was a surprise, but initially, it was not a happy one, and the first explorers spent as much time searching for a way through it or around it as they did searching within it. Rumors of golden cities spurred them on, and the hope of a passageway to the Pacific Ocean drove European countries to send out one expedition after another. The result of all of the searching was the realization that the giant land mass of North America held extraordinary promise for those who dared to brave its untamed wildernesses. Even after America became a country in its own right, men continued to explore its unknown parts, and their stories are often of interesting and unexpected discoveries. This expansive ten-part series of exploration begins with Christopher Columbus and ends centuries later with the mapping of the entire contiguous United States. Click here for this series.
The First American Colonists
The first settlers to the shores of America arrived to find a wild land filled with promise. The French and Spanish came, and then the English, all hoping to claim the land as theirs by starting colonies on it. It was harder than it might have seemed. Between the weather and the wilderness, the turbulent relationships with local Native American tribes and the inexperience of and infighting among the settlers, colonies might never have been established if not for the dedication and determination of people who were resolved to press on with their dreams, despite the hardships and the setbacks. The stories in this four-part series explain the effort involved in building—but not always keeping—the first colonies in what would later become the United States of America. Click here for this series.
Pirates and Privateers
Pirates are some of the most exciting and colorful characters to make up the history of early America, and privateersmen (men given permission by their government to attack and take the ships of enemy countries) were often confused for them, despite the significant difference in their missions. This fun six-part series brings to life the tales of some of the most notorious pirates and bravest privateersmen to sail the open seas around the eastern seaboard of the United States. Argh, matey! Click here for this series.
The traders of early America journeyed into the wilderness with goods to exchange for the furs that both white trappers and Native American hunters brought to them. Trading posts were often the first buildings in what would quickly become growing settlements, and cities sprang up farther and farther west as trappers and traders worked their way across the vast unknown land that was the United States. This six-part series follows the traders as they opened the frontiers for the settlers who followed them, and it includes an interesting tale about President Abraham Lincoln, whose experiences as a young trader helped to shape his view of the country and what he wanted it to become. Click here for this series.
Gold Rush Adventures
Gold! The United States was still young and largely unsettled when gold was discovered in California, and that discovery changed the face of the nation—and it did so in a hurry. People flooded into California, feverish with dreams of great wealth. But getting there was hard, and striking it rich wasn’t guaranteed, and the Forty-Niners encountered obstacles and hardships that left many a dream unfulfilled. However, opportunity exists in many forms, and the California Gold Rush provided ample ways for people to build a satisfying life for themselves. This six-part series goes beyond the standard narrative of the Gold Rush, both to examine the various ways in which the people of the United States traveled to California and to illustrate the discoveries they made while there, which often included insight into what they truly wanted from life. Click here for this series.
Getting information from one part of the country to another wasn’t easy in the early days of the United States. The U.S. government didn’t have a dedicated mail service for many years after its initial founding, so men like John Butterfield and William Russell, among others, decided to take matters into their own hands. They established the first cross-country overland mail routes by both stage and Pony Express, systematically connecting communities far and wide for the first time in the nation’s history. The books contained in this exciting seven-part series include little-known stories about Paul Revere and Mark Twain. Click here for this series.
Cowboys and Cattle Drives
The development of the cattle industry was essential to the growth of the early American West, and cowboys played the integral part of getting herds to the markets where they were needed. This four-part series follows the early cowboys who forged trails across the wilderness as they drove great herds of cattle to market. It also includes the story of a man who kept law and order in a cattle shipping town at the end of the trail, as well as the little-known history of Will Rogers, a man who dreamed of becoming a cowboy and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Click here for this series.
Pioneering on the Plains
The Homestead Act of 1862 opened the land of the American Midwest for anyone who was willing to work for it. It was an amazing opportunity that drew thousands of people into states like Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas, but it was backbreaking work, and the pioneers who battled Mother Nature to make a living in the wind-swept, treeless prairies had to be tough to endure the hardships involved. The struggle was not without reward, however, and the vast plains offered up their beauty and their bounty to the dedicated homesteaders who would not give up. This series contains only two parts, each one long enough to tell an absorbing and entertaining story of life on the plains that will sustain the interest of readers all the way to the end. Click here for this series.
Pioneers on the Early Waterways
The waterways were America’s first highways, and as the country grew and developed, so did the ways in which men carried passengers and freight on those highways. The first boats were simple and subject to the mercy of the river currents, but as technology and innovation bloomed, steamboats emerged to dominate the transportation industry. This comprehensive ten-part series delves deeply into the various methods of early American water travel and includes little-known stories of some famous figures, such as Davy Crockett, Mark Twain, Buffalo Bill, and even President James Garfield. Click here for this series.
Men on Iron Horses
The introduction of the steam locomotive and the expansion of a railroad system across the United States forever changed the way the people in the eastern part of the nation were connected with the people in the West. Passengers and goods could travel from city to city, state to state at speeds that had never before been possible. It revolutionized the economy and ushered in an era of unity across America, despite the ravages of the Civil War that threatened to keep it from happening at all. This six-part series explores the evolution of the locomotive and the development of the railroad in America—and the men who made it happen. Click here for this series.
Pioneer Show People
Actors and other performers traveled the early roads and the river systems of America to take their plays and shows to the settlements along the ever-expanding frontier. As the nation grew, so did the forms of entertainment and the ways in which entertainers brought their acts to the people who paid to see them. This four-part series explores the performers who pioneered taking their shows on the road in early America, including the famous crack shot Annie Oakley. Click here for this series.