Updated 19 September 2013

E-readers benefit some with dyslexia

People with dyslexia may find short lines of text, such as used on e-readers, easier to decipher.


E-readers such as Kindles, Nooks and Kobos can make reading easier for some people with dyslexia, according to a new study.

The short lines of text in e-readers, not the device itself, make the difference, according to Mathew Schneps from the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, assisted by his colleagues.

Dyslexia is a reading disability that affects as many as one in five Americans.

For this study, the researchers compared the reading comprehension and speed of more than 100 dyslexic high school students when they read text on paper and e-readers.

Those who struggled most with sight-word reading had faster reading speed on the e-reader than on paper.

Students with limited visual attention had better comprehension of the text on e-readers than they had on paper, according to the study, which was published in the journal PLoS One.

The findings suggest that short lines with fewer words, as displayed on e-readers, may help some people with dyslexia focus on individual words by removing additional, potentially distracting text on the same line, the researchers said in a journal news release.

More information

The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about dyslexia.

Picture e-reader from Shutterstock.

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