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Research Article

E-Readers Are More Effective than Paper for Some with Dyslexia

  • Matthew H. Schneps mail,

    mschneps@cfa.harvard.edu

    Affiliation: Science Education Department, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America

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  • Jenny M. Thomson,

    Affiliation: Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America

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  • Chen Chen,

    Affiliations: Science Education Department, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America

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  • Gerhard Sonnert,

    Affiliation: Science Education Department, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America

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  • Marc Pomplun

    Affiliation: Department of Computer Science, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America

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  • Published: September 18, 2013
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0075634

Reader Comments (3)

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Fonts and dyslexia

Posted by GFfood-consumer on 16 Oct 2013 at 05:07 GMT

I thought it was widely acknowledged that dyslexics find sans serif fonts easier. Your paper implies there's no strong evidence base on this though. I didn't read your references but wonder how well studied the area is. Certainly, I can vouch for the great benefit of sans serif fonts from a time when I had difficulty reading while suffering from a squint.

No competing interests declared.

RE: Fonts and dyslexia

mschneps replied to GFfood-consumer on 17 Oct 2013 at 12:19 GMT

This is a very interesting question. Our research did not investigate the effects of fonts, and to my knowledge there is no strong evidence (one way or the other) describing the effects of fonts in dyslexia. That said, our research would suggest that for those with attentional forms of dyslexia the effects of fonts would be secondary, to the effects of page formatting as described in our paper. However, any modifications to fonts that helps to diminish crowding, without compromising legibility, would be helpful in dyslexia. Whether sans serif fonts work in this way is an open question.

No competing interests declared.

RE: RE: Fonts and dyslexia

GFfood-consumer replied to mschneps on 27 Oct 2013 at 12:44 GMT

I developed the squint (concomitant strabismus) when ill with celiac disease (therefore malnourished). They were able to correct it with prisms in my glasses. I had never noticed a difference in the ease of reading serif and sans serif fonts beforehand, but afterward the difference was dramatic. For a while, I could read nothing in a serif font. I read somewhere (actually listened to an audiobook as I don't enjoy reading so much these days) the reason Google chose a sans serif font was because it was easier for dyslexics. Probably, this source was the book 'I'm feeling lucky' by Douglas Edwards.The Google founders were very thorough with their decision-making so I'd assumed there must be an evidence base for the effect.

No competing interests declared.