Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Design vs. Dyslexia: Innovation promises new hope for children with dyslexia

Date:
January 27, 2010
Source:
University of Cincinnati
Summary:
Researchers are designing a 21st century electronic toolkit to speed learning for children with dyslexia.

These graphics, part of Renee Seward's project, help children associate the smallest units of sound with letter forms.
Credit: Image courtesy of Renee Seward, University of Cincinnati

Reading and retaining information. That's the challenge faced by the one in five children who have some form of dyslexia.

Overcoming that challenge could soon become easier for educators and children thanks to pioneering design research from the University of Cincinnati's internationally ranked College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP).

Renee Seward, UC assistant professor of digital design, will present her innovative electronic project, titled "Reading by Design: Visualizing Phonemic Sound for Dyslexic Readers 9-11 Years Old," at the Southwest International Reading Association Regional Conference in Oklahoma City, Okla., on Feb. 5, 2010.

She will likewise present her research project during the March 2010 International Technology, Education and Development Conference in Valencia, Spain. (In Spain, Seward is scheduled to be a virtual presenter.)

In developing this toolkit to help educators more effectively assist children with dyslexia, Seward has developed an online tool that creatively employs sight, sound and physical movement to increase the reading and retention abilities of children aged 9 to 11 who have dyslexia. (A separate portion of the project employs physical tools and employs touch to aid educators and children.)

The project was inspired by the struggles of a friend's child to read.

How 'Reading by Design' Works

"In my work," said Seward, "I want to deemphasize the 26 letters of the alphabet and emphasize the 44 common sounds of the English language. I do so by helping educators employ children's senses, from the visual to the kinesthetic."

The key, she added, is knowing that dyslexia is not rooted in problems with visual perception. It's rooted in memory. Individuals with dyslexia have difficulty recalling and making a quick connection between a sound and the letter representing that sound.

"The child is able to read the letter 'b.' He or she is unable to quickly recall that we associate that symbol with the sound, 'buh.' That's dyslexia in a nutshell."

So, in the toolkit she is developing, Seward begins with the smallest units of sound and helps children associate them with letter forms. With the touch of a mouse, a teacher working with a child can scroll over the letter "p," and the "p" will then morph to display common items associated with the "puh" sound: (peach, peppermint, pie, pea and piano).

The "Reading by Design" toolkit has a number of other activities:

  • Sound elements and creative visuals working in concert to reinforce reading retention and recall.
  • Common sounds -- like the "ooohing" of a crowd following a great basketball play (along with the visual of a basketball player making that play) -- depict and reinforce the connections between visual vowel combinations like "oo" and "ew" and their appropriate phonemic sound.
  • Horizontal lengthening of words with long vowels to denote that vowel and the silent "e" (in words like "note"). The child can experience the lengthening word with a sweep of the mouse to the right, thus integrating movement into memory.
  • Also, when moving the mouse over long vowels, the cursor will not move up or down, only in a horizontal lengthening of the vowel to the right - in order to visualize the phonemic value of that vowel. Again, the rightward sweep of the mouse also incorporates the child's arm movement into memory formation and retention.
  • Silent letters appropriately take on a shadow form or repel the mouse.
  • A cursor that moves just like a finger following the text (common to how most children read during their early years).

Testing the Toolkit

Seward likens her project to a parent holding a child's bike as the child learns to ride. Little by little, the parent is able to forego providing complete support and moves to an occasional steadying hand until, ultimately, the child is riding under his or her own power.

She explained, "This electronic toolkit is a scaffold that can be built upon and then taken away."

Seward continues developing the project and is in the process of writing a grant application in cooperation with Allison Breit-Smith, UC assistant professor of teacher education, and Beth O'Brien, assistant professor of educational studies, in order to begin user testing.

In developing the project, Seward has worked with the following specialists in order to obtain feedback:

  • Susan Colberg, associate professor of visual communication design, University of Alberta.
  • Educational psychologist Nilda Cosco, education specialist, North Carolina State University.
  • Educational researcher Peggy Coyne, research scientist at the Center for Applied Technology, Boston, Mass.
  • Joy Sykes Leonard, doctoral student, Carnegie Mellon University.
  • Fletcher Academy, private school in Fletcher, N.C., specializing in teaching dyslexic children and those with ADHD.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Cincinnati. The original article was written by M. B. Reilly. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Cincinnati. "Design vs. Dyslexia: Innovation promises new hope for children with dyslexia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100126141638.htm>.
University of Cincinnati. (2010, January 27). Design vs. Dyslexia: Innovation promises new hope for children with dyslexia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100126141638.htm
University of Cincinnati. "Design vs. Dyslexia: Innovation promises new hope for children with dyslexia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100126141638.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins