Study Says S p a c i n g Letters Apart Helps Dyslexia

Study Says S p a c i n g Letters Apart Helps Dyslexia

Researchers from the University of Padua in Italy studied Italian and French children with dyslexia and found that extra space in between letters helped them read.  These children showed an increase of reading speed by 20 percent and doubled reading accuracy.

Researchers said the increased reading speed is equivalent to that of one year in school, and they were surprised by the incredible outcome. 

Dyslexia is a language-based disorder that causes difficulty in making sense of written words.  The researchers proposed that “visual crowding” was the reason children with dyslexia have a hard time reading; this term refers to the idea that words are harder to read when letters are too close together.  Children with dyslexia often have a hard time recognizing letters, and when they are too close together, it affects their ability to identify letters and read.

The study involved 24 sentences, unrelated to each other in order to prevent contextual clues.  Subjects were asked to read the typical text, followed by the text with extra spaces two weeks later.  Since both French and Italian students took part in the study, the similar results between the languages shows that the spacing rule applies regardless of language. 

The researchers also say that with modern technology, the new spacing could easily be integrated in e-readers.  While it’s not a cure for dyslexia, these changes could make learning more accommodating for individuals with dyslexia.

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Written by: Cara Batema See other articles by Cara Batema
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