Thursday, September 19, 2013

E-Readers May Help People With Dyslexia

Reading is a fundamental need but many people face challenges and barriers to reading effectively. E-readers may be a solution for at least some people, such as those who have dyslexia, say researchers.

A study published in the journal PLOS One, says that the accessibility options available with e-readers are what makes the difference for some readers. The option that had the strongest effect was the ability to reduce the number of words per line, making them shorter than in traditional paper books. This allows the reader to focus more readily on the individual words in front of him or her and not be distracted by too many words of to either side.

Earlier studies in to how e-readers may help people with dyslexia have looked at how fonts and page formatting can be adjusted, but the strongest positive finding to date seems to be that reading is easier when there is more space between letters, as well as words, “counteracting an effect known as crowding that impairs object recognition in the presence of clutter, an effect observed to be more severe in many people with dyslexia,” wrote the authors.

E-readers can be polarizing - some people love them, others hate them - and their reasons vary considerably. However, if it does turn out that the devices can be helpful to people who have difficulty reading, then it would make sense to integrate them into their daily lives, particularly in schools, to boost the students' chances of success.