Researchers from Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics found that e-readers are more beneficial than printed books for some dyslexia patients.
Dyslexia is a learning disorder that is characterized by difficulty in reading. It is most common among children and can occur in youngsters with normal intelligence and vision. According to statistics, 10 to 15 percent of the U.S. population has this disorder but only 5 in every 100 such individuals have their disorder diagnosed and treated. In many cases, dyslexia goes unrecognized until adulthood.
There is no cure for dyslexia and it's a life-long disorder. However, children can receive proper education and learn to cope with their disability by attending schools with special programs that cater specifically to the needs of such children.
In a new study, researchers from Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics found that e-readers rather than printed books can benefit some dyslexia patients, making it easier for them to read.
For the study, researchers compared the reading speed and comprehension of more than 100 dyslexic high school students. These students were given material to read from either a printed paper or an e-reader.
Researchers noted that the children who had trouble with sight-word reading read faster from e-books than printed paper. They also observed that the students that had limited visual attention comprehended the text better when read out of an e-reader than printed paper.
The authors of the study suggested that it was probably the fact that the text on e-readers has shorter lines with fewer words, which help dyslexia patients to better concentrate on individual words.
"The key factor that's important in the effect being helpful is that there's a few words per line," lead researcher Dr Matthew Schneps, from Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told BBC News. "We think that could apply on paper, the blackboard or on any device. 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 study was published Sept. 18 in the journal PLoS One.