Does Dyslexia Font Improve Reading?
Dyslexia is a language processing reading disability so people with dyslexia have difficulty understanding the letter to sound relationship. This is known as phonological processing and it’s documented in research that weak phonological processing is a primary problem in dyslexics. If your child has a weakness in phonological processing they are confused when they see letter combinations and try to pronounce them. Thus, if you tell your child to, “Sound it out,” they often try but can’t. He might look at the first letters and then guess so the word strain may be read as either ‘stain, straw, or strong.’ In children with dyslexia this confusion also creates spelling difficulty.
The media has given attention to dyslexia fonts and their potential to improve a child’s reading. One theory to explain reading difficulty relates to the font or the typographical characteristics of text. When you consider the books young children use to read, they have a larger font size than books for more advanced readers. This leads some to conclude that font affects the reading decoding process. On the surface this makes sense but reading research does not support improvements when a dyslexia font is used.
Dr. Sanne Kuster and colleagues conducted a research experiment using the Dyslexie font and found 170 children with dyslexia did not read faster or more accurate using the Dyslexie font as compared to the Arial font. In a second experiment children had to read word lists in Dyslexie, Arial, and Times New Roman. Words written in the Dyslexie font were not read faster or more accurately. The font the children preferred reading in was the Arial and Times New Roman. The researchers concluded the Dyslexie font did not help or hider the reading of a child with dyslexia. Thus, the takeaway from this research study is that if your child believes the font helps him or her then allow them to use it. It may be a matter of preference.
What really makes a substantial difference is one-to-one specialized reading instruction using a direct and systematic multisensory program. This helps children with dyslexia. Call if you need reading help or suspect your child may have dyslexia. We provide dyslexia testing and have a list of tutors who specialized in teaching children with dyslexia.