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Teri Lawton; Training direction selectivity significantly improves reading fluency for all types of inefficient readers. Journal of Vision 2004;4(8):765. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/4.8.765.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Previous data (Lawton, 2000) found that reading speed improved following a short amount of practice discriminating the direction of movement. It is remarkable that perceptual learning on a direction discrimination task significantly improved reading speed, since perceptual learning is usually specific to the trained task. Therefore, it was essential to conduct a controlled validation study to verify it was practicing direction discrimination and not just playing a fun computer game that improved reading fluency. There were 108 second-grade students from three elementary schools in the Santa Monica and Los Angeles School Districts who participated in this study. Using the Dyslexia Determination Test, the students were identified as either ‘efficient’ or ‘inefficient’ readers. Both of these groups were divided into three subgroups, using a matched-sample design. One subgroup of efficient and inefficient readers practiced left-right movement discrimination for 5 to 10 minutes twice a week for three months. A second subgroup played another computer game, a word discrimination game, for 5 to 10 minutes. The third subgroup only received their school's standard reading program. All groups also read for at least 15 minutes a day. This study found that children who practiced direction discrimination more than doubled their reading speed, all reading skills (word ID, spelling, copying, and reading fluency, both speed and comprehension) improved over a grade level, while the reading skills of the other two groups of inefficient readers barely improved. Training direction discrimination rapidly transitioned inefficient readers to become efficient readers. This is the first time that a reading therapy has been discovered that remediates all types of reading problems. These results indicate that reading skills are controlled by the dorsal motion pathway in the brain. The most likely mechanism to account for the reading deficits of inefficient readers will be described.
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