One Strategy for Dyslexic Readers: Space Out the Letters Please

by Rich on July 6, 2012 · 0 comments


According to an article written in the Atlantic a few days ago, research is telling us that when the letters have been spaced out, children with Dyslexia are able to read much better. If you don’t know what Dyslexia is yet, here is the simple definition:

“A learning disorder that is only related to someone’s ability to read and write.” This disorder can often affect not only a child’s schoolwork, but it could affect anyone at any age at work, school, or when they read and write at their leisure. So, does spacing out the letters really work?

The research in this article was carried out by Esther Entin M.D., from the Brown University’s School of Medicine. Let’s take a look at what it has to say about spacing out letters and whether or not it can be effective with dyslexics.

Dyslexic Readers Just Want Some Space!

The space that you give letters is no doubt effective in that part of the challenge with Dyslexia is that words can be difficult to read because the letters appear to be jumbled together. Some say that they see squiggly lines as well, so it’s different strokes for different folks with this disorder. While Dyslexia is certainly independent of one’s intelligence, those who struggle with this disorder do in fact have a much lower reading level.

This article states the Dyslexia affects 5% of the school population, but I bet if we were to really hone in and ask all schools to test for it, we would discover that number to be a bit higher. As of right now, schools do not test for Dyslexia, which means it’s up to the parent to find out. This is challenging and out of fear many children may not tell their parents or teachers if they are struggling to read.

So, what is the answer once the diagnosis has been made? There are several options now available that weren’t before, including specialized programs that help those with Dyslexia to match letters, symbols, and sounds to identify what they are reading. This is somewhat like learning the principles of phonics, and although helpful, those with Dyslexia would still read the same number of words in one year that any other reader would be able to read within a few days.

So, what else does this research tell us about spacing out letters? It simply gives us the stats that children who were struggling the most had better progress when reading with letters that were spaced out.

Interesting Facts that Serve us Well in Helping  Those with Dyslexia

This article is no doubt interesting and beneficial in that it targets the very thing that readers with Dyslexia battle. I am sure that those who have experienced Dyslexia or those with children that struggle with it are grateful or this study and the resolution at hand. In this case, it was research that was done in line with previous studies that were done. Those previous studies did in fact prove that readers with Dyslexia struggled to read when letters were crowded together.

The simple solution is this; research, research, and more research. In this country, we are so quick to test everything else, but when it comes to learning, especially with children we would do well to be more aggressive in our testing. After all, aren’t the children our future?

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