Researchers found evidence that dyslexic people benefit from reading materials on small e-readers.
A study published Sept. 19 in the journal PLOS One showed that people who have the learning disability dyslexia are able to read faster and comprehend more when using small e-readers such as an iPod. The trick, reported researchers, was the ability to display limited amounts of text on the screen.
Researchers from Harvard and the University of Massachusetts asked 103 dyslexic high school student volunteers to read text both on an iPod and on paper in standard format. Students showed increased reading speeds and comprehension when reading the shorter lines of text off an iPod.
"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… The key factor that's important in the effect being helpful is that there's a few words per line." Dr. Matthew Schneps, Harvard-Smithsonian Center and lead study author
Study authors conducted previous research comparing reading ability on paper, an iPad and an iPod. The iPad and paper produced similar results, but improvements were noted on the iPod, indicating that the size of the screen and amount of text being presented mattered more than the device.
Researchers said "alternate methods" of reading exist without "historically imposed constraints" thanks to technology. Some 5% to 17% of U.S. children have dyslexia, classified by the National Institutes of Health as a learning disability that impacts writing, reading, spelling and sometimes the ability to speak.
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