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Thursday, October 17, 2013

E-Readers: Must-Have Device for Students with Dyslexia?

From Smart Kids with LD

October 14, 2013

E-readers make reading easier for some people with dyslexia. That’s the take-away from a new study by a team of researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Laboratory for Visual Learning.

The study, led by Matthew H. Schneps, found that when readers with dyslexia use an e-reader device, they’re able to read more easily, quickly and with better comprehension.

People who benefit from e-readers are those with visual attention deficits—the inability to concentrate on specific letters or words within lines of text. By reading the shorter lines available on the devices, people with dyslexia are able to “reduce visual distractions.”

According to an article in Medical News Today, the research team studied 103 students with dyslexia from a Boston, MA high school for students with LD. “E reader use ‘significantly improved’ both speed and understanding in many of the students, the study shows. Students who had a significant visual attention deficit benefited the most from the e-reader…”

“We believe that the e-readers are effective for some people with dyslexia because these people have difficulty directing their visual attention to the portions of words and sentences they look at as they read,” explained Schneps.

“It’s almost as if they’re being distracted by the text in the neighborhood of the words they are trying to look at and read, and our new research will be directed at testing this hypothesis.”

An E-Reader in Every Backpack

If the findings can be replicated, the results have huge implications for how struggling readers can access the written word effectively in school.

Notes Schneps: “With the widespread adoption of e-readers and other digital technologies for reading, reading methods are rapidly evolving, opening the possibility that alternate methods for reading can perhaps reverse historically imposed constraints that have caused so many to struggle, and make reading accessible to many currently excluded.”

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