Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disorder in children. Dyslexia affects up to 7% of schoolchildren and is a major source of morbidity and costs as children develop. Efforts to find strategies to encourage easier learning for this population are a priority in primary education.
In this context, a recent study published in PLOS ONE has found that the use of e-readers among dyslexics significantly improved reading speed and comprehension, when compared with traditional presentations on paper. The research was led by Matthew Schneps, director of the Laboratory for Visual Learning at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Schneps et al. asked 103 high school student volunteers to read text both via an iPod Touch and on paper in standard format. All of the students had been diagnosed with dyslexia, but had normal vision and no histories of neurological disorders. The students found it easier to read by iPod than paper, and for the e-reader population there was a slight increase in the speed with which students read and an improvement in comprehension.
Dr. Schneps told BBC News:
“The key factor that’s important in the effect being helpful is that there’s a few words per line. We think that could apply on paper, the blackboard or on any device.” He said dyslexia came in many varieties, but some people may be helped by adjustments to the text that were visual in nature. “If people are struggling to read they may want to try to simply blow the text up in their small computer-like device to see if having fewer words helps.”
Article in PLOS ONE: E-Readers Are More Effective than Paper for Some with Dyslexia