Check out this research summary:
LARGE PRINT AND READING INDEPENDENCE: Research Summary and Findings
Legibility, Reading Comprehension, Fluency
This research report highlights studies on the positive effects of large print on student reading achievement.
Reading speed and accuracy are aided when texts have larger and more widely spaced fonts.
— Laura Hughes and Arnold Wilkins,
Journal of Research in Reading (2000)
13 page PDF
How Font Size Affects Reading Ability
The effect of print size on reading speed in dyslexia
“This article details a study which predicted that across a wide range of print sizes dyslexic reading would follow the same curve shape as skilled reading, with constant reading rates across large print sizes and a sharp decline in reading rates below a critical print size. It also predicted that dyslexic readers would require larger critical print sizes to attain their maximum reading speeds, following the letter position coding deficit hypothesis. Reading speed was measured across twelve print sizes ranging from Snellen equivalents of 20/12 to 20/200 letter sizes for a group of dyslexic readers in Grades 2 to 4 (aged 7 to 10 years), and for non-dyslexic readers in Grades 1 to 3 (aged 6 to 8 years). The groups were equated for word reading ability. Results confirmed that reading rate-by-print size curves followed the same two-limbed shape for dyslexic and non-dyslexic readers. Dyslexic reading curves showed higher critical print sizes and shallower reading rate-by-print size slopes below the critical print size, consistent with the hypothesis of a letter-position coding deficit. Non-dyslexic reading curves also showed a decrease of critical print size with age. A developmental lag model of dyslexic reading does not account for the results, since the regression of critical print size on maximum reading rate differed between groups.”
Large Print Books
Follow the link for abstracts:
Fuchs, L. S., & Fuchs, D. (2000). Using objective data sources to enhance teacher judgments about test accommodations. Exceptional Children, 67(1), 67.
Hughes, L. E., & Wilkins, A. J. (2000). Typography in children’s reading schemes may be suboptimal: Evidence from measures of reading rate. Journal of Research in Reading, 23(3), 314.
Hughes, L. E., & Wilkins, A. J. (2002). Reading at a distance: Implications for the design of text in children’s big books. The British Journal of Educational Psychology, 72(2), 213-226.
Koenig, A. J. (1992). The relative effectiveness of reading in large print and with low vision devices for students with low vision. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 86(1), 48-53.
Koenig, A. J., & Ross, D. (1991). A procedure to evaluate the relative effectiveness of reading in large and regular print. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 85(5), 198-204.
Sloan, L. L., & Habel, A. (1973). Reading speeds with textbooks in large and in standard print. Sight-Saving Review, 43(2), 107-111.
More Research Says Bigger Fonts Help Kids Read
“The findings are clear. Researchers report:
- the students improved between 41% and 70% on their SRA Reading scores after one year of large print remediation, gains that continued during summer breaks, unlike the typical loss from regular print books
- because there are fewer words and those words are easier to decode, struggling readers make substantial progress with comprehension, tracking, and fluency, all while making fewer decoding mistakes. Additionally, research shows that fewer words on the page lower anxiety levels in struggling readers
- at least one aspect of format — font size or style — was an important factor for 70% of the children when making book selections. Statements by the children regarding font revealed that they based their book selections on the legibility of the text
- students were able to read books on a higher reading level when the books were Large Print, as opposed to only being able to read on- or below-grade level books in regular print.”
I love this research. It shows the value of library large print collections beyond seniors and the visually impaired. It does have a great impact on reading success for kids, aphasics, and the students with differing learning styles. Librarians care about reading and this is one tool we have.