E-readers are more effective than reading on paper for some with dyslexia, according to results published September 18 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Mathew Schneps from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and colleagues from other institutions. Their results suggest it is the use of short lines on the display, and not the device itself, that leads to the benefits observed in this study.
For the study, the authors compared reading comprehension and speed on paper versus that on e-readers in over 100 dyslexic high school students. They found that those who struggled most with sight-word reading read more rapidly using the electronic device than they did on paper. Students with limited visual attention spans had better comprehension of the text on e-readers than they had on paper. The results suggest that short lines with fewer words, as displayed on e-readers, may help some dyslexic readers focus on individual words by removing additional, potentially distracting text on the same line.
Citation: Schneps MH, Thomson JM, Chen C, Sonnert G, Pomplun M (2013) E-Readers Are More Effective than Paper for Some with Dyslexia. PLoS ONE 8(9): e75634. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075634
Financial Disclosure: This article is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants No. HRD-0930962 and HRD-1131039, and the Youth Access Grant program at the Smithsonian Institution. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing Interest Statement: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
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