Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Smithsonian experts find e-readers can make reading easier for those with dyslexia

19.09.2013
As e-readers grow in popularity as convenient alternatives to traditional books, researchers at the Smithsonian have found that convenience may not be their only benefit.

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!
Further information:
http://www.si.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Oxygen loss in the coastal Baltic Sea is “unprecedentedly severe”
05.07.2018 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Global study of world's beaches shows threat to protected areas

19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

New creepy, crawly search and rescue robot developed at Ben-Gurion U

19.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Metal too 'gummy' to cut? Draw on it with a Sharpie or glue stick, science says

19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>