Authors: Cavalli, Eddy; Colé, Pascale; Brèthes, Hélène, et al..
Publication: Annals of Dyslexia . First Online: 16 July 2019 2019 | DOI: 10.1007/s11881-019-00182-w
Developmental dyslexia is a long-lasting reading deficit that persists into adulthood. In spite of many difficulties, some adults with dyslexia reach levels of reading comprehension similar to those of unimpaired readers and successfully study at university. While digital technologies offer many potential tools to facilitate reading, there are differences between printed books and e-books, particularly regarding the interaction between the reader and the text (paratextual cues). This study used long-text reading to investigate (1) different aspects of reading comprehension skills (literal and inferential processes, location of events within a story, and reconstruction of the plot) among university students with dyslexia and (2) the impact of e-book reading on reading comprehension in this population.
Thirty adults with dyslexia and 30 matched skilled readers read the same text presented from a printed book and an e-book (Amazon Kindle). Questions were open-ended and both questions and answers used oral format. Results showed that with the printed book, dyslexic adults performed similarly to skilled readers in both literal and inferential reading comprehension tasks. Moreover, they performed at the same level or higher than skilled readers in tasks assessing spatiotemporal aspects of reading (localization of events and plot reconstruction). Conversely, with the e-book reader, the dyslexic adults were outperformed by skilled readers both in literal and spatiotemporal comprehension tasks. These results suggest that reading from an e-book hinders some aspects of reading comprehension for adults with dyslexia. However, when reading a printed book without time pressure, university students with dyslexia performed as well as, or better than, non-impaired readers on some measures of reading comprehension. Therefore, digital reading devices might not always be advantageous to them.