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Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2018;36(6):679-691. doi: 10.3233/RNN-180829.

Rapid improvement of reading performance in children with dyslexia by altering the reading strategy: A novel approach to diagnoses and therapy of reading deficiencies.

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Institute for Social Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Munich, Germany.



Reading disability is termed "dyslexia" if it is much lower than other cognitive abilities according to the intelligence quotient (IQ). This means that dyslexia is caused by an impairment of abilities other than those which the IQ requires. Therefore, reading performance should improve immediately if these impairments are either eliminated or compensated.


The experiments explore conditions under which these impairments are compensated and dyslexic children's poor reading ability immediately improve.


Experiment 1 examined if reducing the number of letters in pseudowords, prolonging the time interval during which the gaze is directed to pseudowords, reducing the amplitude of saccades and prolonging the time interval that elapsed between the beginning of the presentation of a pseudoword and the beginning of the pronunciation of that word influences childrens' reading performance. A group of 100 German children (71 boys and 29 girls) aged 8 to 13 years, who suffered from dyslexia according to the Zuerich Reading Test, were divided into a training group (n = 50) and an age-matched control group (n = 50) and tested. Both groups participated in experiment 1. Only the children in the training group participated in experiment 2, in which the children learned a compensatory reading strategy. The age - matched control group did not learn the compensatory reading strategy. In the training group, reading performance was tested before and after having learned the new reading strategy.


Conditions were found under which all children were able to read 95% of the pseudowords correctly. After having learned a compensatory reading strategy, a mean 58.9% decrease in words read incorrectly was found after a single training session. The difference between the number of reading mistakes before and after the training session was highly significant (Wicoxon Test: p <  0.00001). The effect size showed that the compensatory reading strategy was highly effective (Hedges g = 1.7). The reading ability of an age-matched dyslexic control group showed no improvement.


Dyslexic subjects' reading performance improves significantly when they learn a new reading strategy.


Dyslexia; diagnosis; eye movements; fixation time; segmentation; speech onset latency; therapy; word recognition

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