E-Readers Make Reading Easier For People Who Are Dyslexic

A study shows that e-readers help people with dyslexia comprehend text.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Here's another example of tech helping people. In this case, people who struggle with dyslexia. For some, the act of reading a book can be dispiriting. Just ask Matthew Schneps, he directs the Laboratory for Visual Learning at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

MATTHEW SCHNEPS: I'll open the book and I'll start reading it. And then I'll very quickly realize, you know, I'm never going to get through this thing, and I just give up.

SIEGEL: But when Schneps reads on a small handheld device, like a smartphone...

SCHNEPS: I'm able to get through it and I'm able to read it with pleasure, and not the sense of dread that often accompanies my trying to read on paper.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And Schneps found he isn't alone. This isn't just anecdotal. Schneps has published a new study in the journal PLOS ONE. It shows that some people with dyslexia are able to read faster and comprehend more, using a small eReader. What's key, Schneps says, is displaying fewer words on the screen - maybe just two or three per line.

SCHNEPS: It's like blinders on a horse. You're kind of limiting the distractions around you and focusing on the words you're trying to read at the moment.

SIEGEL: Schneps cautions this won't work for all people with dyslexia. But with the ubiquity of smartphones, he says testing this out is just a tap or two away.

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