Small Screens May Make Reading Easier for Dyslexics

Almost every day I get a question from parents on what smart devices would be best for their child with reading difficulties. I talk with them about the different choices.  Depending on the student, I have typically recommended devices with larger screens (tablets and e-readers), but that may change.

Matthew Schneps is a researcher who directs a lab at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He is also dyslexic and is now focusing his research on dyslexia.  An article about him in the Boston Globe (July 3, 2013) said that while he was waiting for the bus one day, he wondered whether or not hand-held gadgets might “be an effective reading platform for people with dyslexia” – more so than larger devices.  His research is focused on understanding how reading on digital devices aids in reading.  He is finding that reading on a smaller screen, like that of a smartphone or iPod Touch, reduce the inefficiencies in the ways students’ eyes track across the page and help kids read faster without reducing their comprehension.
So if you are at the point where you are trying to find a good platform for your child or student who struggles with reading, don’t rule out the small screen – it may be just what they need.