Skip to content

    Children's Health

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Spacing Letters Apart Helps Dyslexia

    Study Shows Spacing Letters Farther Apart Increases Reading Speed, Accuracy in Dyslexia
    By
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    June 4, 2012 -- Spreading the letters of words a bit farther apart helps dyslexic kids read more quickly and make fewer mistakes as they read, a new study shows.

    While the strategy isn't a cure for dyslexia, which causes the brain to process information differently, researchers say it may help some children with the condition to read more easily, a key to helping them become better readers and learners overall.

    Therapists agree that one of the best long-term remedies for the reading difficulties of dyslexia is practice. But because reading is so frustrating for these kids, practice is often a tough sell.

    "The consequence is that children with dyslexia read very, very little. We give the comparison that a child with dyslexia reads in a year what a normal reader reads in two days," says researcher Johannes C. Ziegler, PhD, director of research in the cognitive psychology laboratory at Aix-Marseille University in Marseille, France.

    Crowding Complicates Reading in Dyslexia

    In recent years, scientists have developed a greater understanding of a visual phenomenon called crowding -- a problem that affects a person's ability to recognize what they see.

    When we look at words on a page, the eye and brain need to focus on and recognize characters within a narrow visual field.

    Studies of people with dyslexia show that their brains may be overly attentive to information coming in from the edges of their vision.

    That makes dyslexics very good at quickly absorbing and understanding the information in a scene or picture, but it makes reading more difficult.

    "If these letters are too close to one another, the features intermix, so you're not able to tell which letter it actually is," Ziegler says.

    While crowding has been known to be a problem for people with dyslexia for some time, Ziegler says little research has tested whether strategies to reduce crowding could improve reading.

    Testing Wider Letter Spacing to Ease Reading

    For the study, researchers tested whether spacing letters of words a little farther apart on the page could improve reading speed and accuracy in 74 Italian and French children who had been diagnosed with dyslexia.

    1 | 2 | 3

    Today on WebMD

    child with red rash on cheeks
    What’s that rash?
    plate of fruit and veggies
    How healthy is your child’s diet?
     
    smiling baby
    Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
    Middle school band practice
    Understanding your child’s changing body.
     

    worried kid
    fitArticle
    jennifer aniston
    Slideshow
     
    Measles virus
    Article
    sick child
    Slideshow
     

    babyapp
    New
    Child with adhd
    Slideshow
     
    rl with friends
    fitSlideshow
    Child Coughing or Sneezing into Elbow
    Article