The Dyslexie font: does it work for children with dyslexia?

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Anne Glennie
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The Dyslexie font: does it work for children with dyslexia?

Postby Anne Glennie » Wed Jul 29, 2015 9:49 am

The results of a study looking at the specially designed Dyslexie font and its effectiveness for children with dyslexia, are discussed in an article published in the August 2015 MultiLit Moment Newsletter.

The study was carried out by Emeritus Prof Kevin Wheldall, Dr Alison Madelaine, Dr Eva Marinus and Michelle Mostard and Associate Professor Eliane Segers from Radboud University (Nijmegen, the Netherlands).

Click to read the full article and newsletter: http://www.multilit.com/wp-content/uplo ... 15-WEB.pdf

You may have seen recent media reports on a special font, called ‘Dyslexie’, developed by Dutch artist Christian Boer to help children and adults with dyslexia to improve their reading. Even ‘the Fonz’ (actor turned children’s author and dyslexia advocate, Henry Winkler) is advocating the font and has had some of his children’s books published in Dyslexie.
Boer, who struggles with dyslexia himself, contends that the letters of the alphabet are too similar for people with dyslexia. He therefore designed the font to make letters more easily distinguished (for example, by alternating tail lengths and giving them a heavy baseline to prevent confusion of letters).

The results of decades of research into reading and dyslexia, however, clearly show that these ideas are not supported by scientific evidence. There are also barely any published studies which have directly tested the efficacy of Dyslexie font.

Our research found that low-progress readers read Dyslexie text more quickly than Arial text, when matched on absolute letter size. When general spacing was also matched, the performance difference became smaller. Finally, when both the within and between word spacing was matched, the children performed the same on the Arial text as they did on Dyslexie text.
From these results, we can conclude that Dyslexie font is easier for low-progress readers to read than Arial font of the same size, but only because of its increased spacing between words and within words rather than from the special letter shapes in the font per se. Therefore there seems to be no need to use Dyslexie, as spacing can be adjusted with every font.
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Debbie_Hepplewhite
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Re: The Dyslexie font: does it work for children with dyslexia?

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Wed May 25, 2016 11:00 am

You can now find the article published here:

A Special Font for People with Dyslexia: Does it Work and, if so, why?

Eva Marinus1,*, Michelle Mostard2, Eliane Segers2, Teresa M. Schubert1, Alison Madelaine3 andKevin Wheldall3
Version of Record online: 19 MAY 2016

DOI: 10.1002/dys.1527

Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd


http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 ... 7/abstract
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Debbie_Hepplewhite
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Re: The Dyslexie font: does it work for children with dyslexia?

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Fri May 27, 2016 12:36 pm

Kristin Anthian draws attention to a further study on specialised font types and kindly provided this for IFERI:

The effect of a specialized dyslexia font, OpenDyslexic, on reading rate and accuracy.

Wery JJ, Diliberto JA. Annals of Dyslexia. 2016 Mar 18

Abstract

A single-subject alternating treatment design was used to investigate the extent to which a specialized dyslexia font, OpenDyslexic, impacted reading rate or accuracy compared to two commonly used fonts when used with elementary students identified as having dyslexia. OpenDyslexic was compared to Arial and Times New Roman in three reading tasks: (a) letter naming, (b) word reading, and (c) nonsense word reading. Data were analyzed through visual analysis and improvement rate difference, a nonparametric measure of nonoverlap for comparing treatments. Results from this alternating treatment experiment show no improvement in reading rate or accuracy for individual students with dyslexia, as well as the group as a whole. While some students commented that the font was "new" or "different", none of the participants reported preferring to read material presented in that font. These results indicate there may be no benefit for translating print materials to this font.


Kind Regards,

Kristin Anthian
Dip.T(EC), B.Ed(P), PGDip.Ed.St(ECI), M.Ed(SE.I&EI)

Educational and Developmental Consultant
Supporting Diverse and Exceptional Learners

Learning Difficulties Australia (LDA) Consultant and Council Member
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Debbie_Hepplewhite
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Re: The Dyslexie font: does it work for children with dyslexia?

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Sat Jun 11, 2016 12:36 pm

Here is a leaflet about the Dyslexie font generated by the Dyslexia-SPELD Foundation Western Australia:

http://us13.campaign-archive2.com/?u=26 ... 5caea84e&e

Should we use a special font for children with reading difficulties?


The research concluded that the Dyslexie font is easier for low-progress readers to read than Arial font of the same size, but only because of the increased spacing between words and within words, not because of the Dyslexie letter shapes. The same benefit can be achieved using alternative fonts, such as Ariel. The National Centre for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) in the United States has reported similar findings. Between and within word spacing can be adjusted for any font using the settings on a word processing program like Microsoft Word. As a consequence, there is no need to use the Dyslexie font specifically.

Further research may support the use of increased letter spacing as a way to assist struggling readers. In the meantime, however, our focus should be on strategies that are evidence-based and that have been found to actually improve knowledge and skills. The underlying weakness for most people with dyslexia is a difficulty linking phonemes (speech sounds) to graphemes (letters). It is possible that by relying on the use of a special font as an ‘intervention’, individuals with reading difficulties may miss out on the opportunity to access a successful and evidence-based approach to improving their reading, such as explicit and structured phonics instruction.
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Debbie_Hepplewhite
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Re: The Dyslexie font: does it work for children with dyslexia?

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:31 am

Researcher, Eva Marinus, kindly alerts us to a free app for adjusting spacing of text for slower readers with a transparent comment about the potential increase in efficiency:


As described in the DSF news from SPELD, the spacing settings of Dyslexie font can be obtained for any font by adjusting the settings on a word processing program like Microsoft Word. We also created a free app to adjust spacing for webpages (Chrome only). See link below.

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/deta ... gojideogop

Again, although there seems to be a small benefit (around 7% increase in text-reading speed), this does not come close to the performance of normal reading peers. In addition, we only investigated the efficacy of increased spacing in Grade 2-6 low-progress readers. Not in adults.
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Debbie_Hepplewhite
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Re: The Dyslexie font: does it work for children with dyslexia?

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Wed Jun 22, 2016 12:15 am

Article now in The Conversation:

Spacing of letters, not shape of letters, slightly increases reading speed of those with dyslexia

June 21, 2016


https://theconversation.com/spacing-of- ... exia-59316

Based on our research and earlier findings, it is clear that typesetting factors like spacing can only marginally contribute to reading improvement in individuals who struggle with reading.

To significantly improve reading it is important to concentrate on remediation of the specific underlying cause(s) of the reading impairment, like training rules for converting print to speech sounds.

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