E-readers may make reading easier for people with dyslexia

The study showed that e-readers set up to display short lines helped subjects read better by improving the efficiency of their eye movements. — AFP pic
The study showed that e-readers set up to display short lines helped subjects read better by improving the efficiency of their eye movements. — AFP pic

NEW YORK, Sept 21 — US researchers have found a surprising new benefit to e-readers: when they are set up to display only a few words per line, some people with dyslexia can read more easily, more quickly, and with greater comprehension.

Scientists from the Laboratory for Visual Learning at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory enlisted 103 students with dyslexia in a study on how e-readers might benefit their reading skills and comprehension. Findings were published Thursday in the journal PLOS One.

An element in many cases of dyslexia is called a visual attention deficit, which is marked by an inability to concentrate on letters within words or words within lines of text, the researchers explained. 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 alleviate 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 lead author of the study Matthew H. Schneps. “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 helped subjects read better by improving the efficiency of their eye movements, the researchers said.

Access the latest study here. — AFP-Relaxnews

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