Monday, September 23, 2013

How eReaders Combat Dyslexia

Technology is a wonderful thing. I'm still not an eReader user, but I definitely see many of the benefits; convenience, library all in one place, easier access to books, lighter weight, cost, great on a commute or traveling, and so on. With all those benefits I'm very certain, one day I'll take the eReader plunge - or at least tip my toe in the water deeper.

I'm certain the benefits of eReaders will continue to grow, especially as technology improves. To this point, researchers at the Smithsonian have discovered that the use of eReaders can in some cases improve the reading capability of some individuals with dyslexia. Particularly, it can helps those individuals with visual attention deficit and visual crowding.

Visual attention deficit is when the reader has a difficult time concentrating on letters within words or words within lines of text. Visual crowding is when the reader struggles to recognize letters when they are cluttered within a word. eReaders can address both of these issues when they are set up to display shorter lines. The shorter lines reduce the visual distractions, which ultimately led to significantly improved reading speed and comprehension with students who exhibit these forms of dyslexia.

The researchers' findings are covered in an article published by Science Daily, appropriately entitled E-Readers Can Make Reading Easier for Those With Dyslexia. As I said before, technology is a wonderful thing.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why Reading for Pleasure Makes Kids Smarter

A great article in The Guardian talks about how children who read for pleasure do better not only in vocabulary and spelling, but also mathematics. The article cites a study of 17,000 people, who The Guardian has interviewed over the years to gain insights into the different issues that affected participants' individual development. The article suggests two main reasons why pleasure readers excel over their peers.The first is that reading "introduces young people to new words", explaining their vocabulary success. The second is "that reading also introduces young people to new ideas."

I agree with both of these, but I think there is an even more compelling reason. Simply put, children master the skill of reading the more they read. Children who read when they don't have to, develop reading skills far greater than those who only read when they have to read. The greater the reading skills, the better the child will be able to understand and comprehend concepts in their text books. As a result, master readers have a greater ability to master other subjects.

Any other thoughts on why reading for fun makes kids smarter?

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