Reading Text Formats Improve Comprehension
What if a simple change to text format could help students comprehend more?
There is growing evidence that the best text style is different for each individual. Text features such as shape, size and spacing impact individuals differently.
Readability Matters is proud to announce the publication of our readability comprehension study. To our knowledge, this is one of the only studies investigating how personalizing font format can affect both reading speed and comprehension in school-aged children. The group of 94 students ages 5-14 participated in a digital reading study completing several standard reading tasks designed to measure comprehension. The new idea: look for changes in comprehension when the students read with different text formats. Six variations on the Google variable font Roboto Flex were evaluated.
We examined reading comprehension with different font variations and found that a substantial proportion of the children we tested consistently exhibited more accurate reading comprehension with the same font style over time and that this font style varied among participants. In other words, while one child exhibited better comprehension with font variation 1 at the beginning and end of the test session, another child read and comprehended best with font variation 2.
Imagine the Possibilities
Our results indicate that personalizing font format can significantly improve reading speed and comprehension in K-8 students. Given these findings, educational technology and publishing companies should consider the development of font personalization tools. The adoption of better reading formats can help students better understand and retain information. The power of technology in education is its ability to provide impactful teaching and learning tools to educators and students. Personalized digital text is just such an opportunity.
The paper is available from the Journal of Education Sciences, Special Issue “Digital Innovation in Education.” This special issue belongs to the section “Technology Enhanced Education.”
One Font Doesn’t Fit All: The Influence of Digital Text Personalization
on Comprehension in Child and Adolescent Readers
Shannon Sheppard, Susanne Nobles, Anton Palma, Sophie Kajfez,
Marjorie Jordan, Kathy Crowley, Sofie Beier
Read the paper here.