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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Improving Your Reading Skills

Using Technology to Break the Speed Barrier of Reading

New research suggests that one of humanity’s most important inventions can be improved

Matthew H. Schneps | September 8, 2015

...Unfortunately, the system of reading we inherited from the ancient scribes —the method of reading you are most likely using right now — has been fundamentally shaped by engineering constraints that were relevant in centuries past, but no longer appropriate in our information age. When books were scarce, and few people could read, the fact that some inherent flaw in the design of reading may have hindered reading was not much of a concern. But today, in an era of computers —where it is possible to instantly download virtually any book ever published and read it on a device we carry in our pockets— what limits our reading is the capacity of the brain to absorb the available content.  The problem of our millennium is that we simply can’t seem to get the information into our minds fast enough to satisfy our needs. 


<more at; related links: (Welcome to Friendly Type® (+Video)) and (Shorter Lines Facilitate Reading in Those Who Struggle. Matthew H. Schneps , Jenny M. Thomson, Gerhard Sonnert, Marc Pomplun, Chen Chen, and Amanda Heffner-Wong. Published: August 5, 2013. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0071161. [Abstract: People with dyslexia, who ordinarily struggle to read, sometimes remark that reading is easier when e-readers are used. Here, we used eye tracking to observe high school students with dyslexia as they read using these devices. Among the factors investigated, we found that reading using a small device resulted in substantial benefits, improving reading speeds by 27%, reducing the number of fixations by 11%, and importantly, reducing the number of regressive saccades by more than a factor of 2, with no cost to comprehension. Given that an expected trade-off between horizontal and vertical regression was not observed when line lengths were altered, we speculate that these effects occur because sluggish attention spreads perception to the left as the gaze shifts during reading. Short lines eliminate crowded text to the left, reducing regression. The effects of attention modulation by the hand, and of increased letter spacing to reduce crowding, were also found to modulate the oculomotor dynamics in reading, but whether these factors resulted in benefits or costs depended on characteristics, such as visual attention span, that varied within our sample.]>

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