Readability (12 point)
Readability (16 point)
Readability (18 point)
You only have to type the word readability into a search and you are confronted with a broad range of reading options. The essence of a range of studies is that the size of a font and the spacing between will make a difference to the ease with which different readers will be able to access the information within a piece of text. This can seem self-evident, but it is an easily overlooked aspect of creating worksheets for different groups of learners.
Browsing online reports of studies into readability and font sizes, and there are many examples, the common thread seems to suggest that the larger fonts increase the fluency and speed of reading, so improving the comprehension of the reader. This aspect was fascinating, as the central tenet of reading currently seems to have a major focus on decoding.
Beyond decoding, there is the need to make sense of what is being read and the speed, fluency and accuracy, if influenced by the font size, must be a consideration when presenting texts to learners, especially if the language is content-heavy. This could be especially important in second language speakers, as well as native speakers with poor reading.
Some of the studies suggest that minor variations in eye movement can have a link with dyslexic functioning, so that adaptations through font choice can support some improvements.
"Many dyslexics have problems with 'crowding', where they're distracted by the words surrounding the word they're trying to read," says John Stein, Professor of Neuroscience at Oxford University and chair of the Dyslexia Research Trust. "When reading text on a small phone, you're reducing the crowding effect" (Hill, 2010).
Given the larger impact on the reading for students with certain disabilities, increasing text size should be a prime consideration for educators of these students. The O'Brien study concludes:
The finding that dyslexic readers require larger print size to attain their maximum reading speed has implications for the type of print that educators select for these children (O'Brien, Mansfiled, and Legge, 2005).
There are a number of studies into the use of ereaders, where participants report improvements in reading and enjoyment through the ability to alter the font size for themselves, which could be a very positive argument for the use of ereaders for children seeking to improve their reading enjoyment through increased fluency, speed and accuracy.
Given the easy availability of technology that enables rapid adaptation of teaching and learning material for children, there are few excuses for poorly presented text material.