The team discovered that when e-readers are set up to display only a few words per line, some people with dyslexia can read more easily, quickly and with greater comprehension. Their findings are published in the Sept. 18 issue of the journal PLOS ONE.
An element in many cases of dyslexia is called a visual attention deficit. It is marked by an inability to concentrate on letters within words or words within lines of text. Another element is known as visual crowding--the failure to recognize letters when they are cluttered within the word. Using short lines on an e-reader can alieviate these issues and promote reading by reducing visual distractions within the text.
"At least a third of those with dyslexia we tested have these issues with visual attention and are helped by reading on the e-reader," said Matthew H. Schneps, director of the Laboratory for Visual Learning at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and lead author of the research. "For those who don't have these issues, the study showed that the traditional ways of displaying text are better."
An earlier study by Schneps tracked eye movements of dyslexic students while they read, and it showed the use of short lines facilitated reading by improving the efficiency of the eye movements. This second study examined the role the small hand-held reader had on comprehension, and found that in many cases the device not only improved speed and efficiency, but improved abilities for the dyslexic reader to grasp the meaning of the text.
The team tested the reading comprehension and speed of 103 students with dyslexia who attend Landmark High School in Boston. Reading on paper was compared with reading on small hand-held e-reader devices, configured to lines of text that were two-to-three words long. The use of an e-reader significantly improved speed and comprehension in many of the students. Those students with a pronounced visual attention deficit benefited most from reading text on a handheld device versus on paper, while the reverse was true for those who did not exhibit these issues. The small screen on a handheld device displaying few words (versus a full sheet of paper) is believed to narrow and concentrate the reader's focus, which controls visual distraction.
"The high school students we tested at Landmark had the benefit of many years of exceptional remediation, but even so, if they have visual attention deficits they will eventually hit a plateau, and traditional approaches can no longer help," said Schneps. "Our research showed that the e-readers help these students reach beyond those limits."
These findings suggest that this reading method can be an effective intervention for struggling readers and that e-readers may be more than new technological gadgets: They also may be educational resources and solutions for those with dyslexia.
The study was funded by the National Science Foundation. The journal article is openly accessible and can be downloaded at http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.007563. The previously published study is available at http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0071161.
To guide teachers, parents, and others in how to use e-readers to help students who struggle with reading, the Smithsonian Institution, with funding from the Youth Access Grant program, has created a free online resource explaining how to configure the devices, and certify reading specialists in their use. This resource is accessible at http://readeasy.si.edu.
John Gibbons | EurekAlert!
Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences