Research highlight

Neuroscience: A read for speed

Nature Communications

February 13, 2013

A training programme which induces faster reading improves reading comprehension and fluency in adults with dyslexia according to research in Nature Communications. The training is reported to bring dyslexic readers’ performance up to that of typical readers and leads to the conclusion that processes associated with reading, for example, cognitive processing, are malleable in adulthood.

Dyslexic individuals often possess reading skills that are slower and less accurate than that of their peers. It has been suggested that remedial interventions for reading deficits are less effective into adulthood due to a reduction in brain plasticity after childhood. Zvia Breznitz and colleagues trial a computerized reading acceleration training procedure where 110 university students, 55 of whom were dyslexic, were asked to complete reading task under time constraints. They found that the programme resulted in improved reading skills of both adult dyslexic readers and adult typical readers with the dyslexic readers’ performance being similar to that of typical readers who hadn’t undergone training. This improvement was then retained at six months post training. The authors report that identical training without the crucial time constraints proved ineffective for students.

They suggest that accelerated training helped close the gap between reading abilities in both groups by creating better synchronisation between brain systems that are activated in reading. They note, however, that imaging studies are needed in order to test this theory further. Whether this training would bring similar results for dyslexic children is also yet to be verified.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms2488

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