Dyslexic Children May Gain From Wider-Spaced Text, Study Finds

Spacing letters and words wide apart may help dyslexic children read faster and with fewer errors, according to a study released today.

Finding ways to make it easier for dyslexic children to read could help improve their life skills, giving them added practice to improve learning, the authors said in the study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers tested 94 French and Italian children ages 8 to 14.

“Reading deficits must be treated by reading more -- a vicious circle for a dyslexic child,” the study authors wrote. “Our findings offer a practical way to ameliorate dyslexics’ reading achievement without any training.”

Putting wide spaces between words and letters avoids a difficulty faced by dyslexics called “crowding,” which makes recognizing letters more difficult, the authors wrote. Wider spacing doesn’t help normal, adult readers, who are slowed down by such spacing.

The study by French and Italian researchers was funded by a grant from the Institute for Maternal and Child Health in Trieste, Italy.

To contact the reporter on this story: Drew Armstrong in New York at darmstrong17@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net

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