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Colour Enhances Reading

What helps early detection of dyslexia in children? Which colour paper and overlay enhances reading performance the most in dyslexic children?

Child Reading in the Grass

In April 2021 a group of 8 researchers had their findings published.  They wanted to prove whether coloured overlays and coloured backgrounds improved the reading process, in particular for school age children affected by dyslexia.  It is estimated that 5–10% of school-age children are affected by dyslexia, the reading disorder characterised by difficulties in the accuracy or fluency of word recognition.  The study consisted of 36 children between the ages of 8 & 12; 18 of whom had dyslexia and 18 in the control group.  The study also measured differences in electroencephalography (EEG), heart rate variability (HRV), electrodermal activities(EDA) and eye movements of all participants during a reading task  where they experimented with 13 combinations of background and overlay colours.


Of the 13 colour combinations, the researchers found that the dyslexic children reading performance was most improved when reading on turquoise coloured paper with a turquoise overlay.  The other colour to make a significant difference was yellow.  And they found that all the measures used (EEG, HRV, EDA and eye tracking) could be helpful in terms of better understanding of the neurophysiological origin of dyslexia in children.  This is just the first step: more in-depth research using machine-learning algorithms could be useful for both the prevention and detection of dyslexia.

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