Research Topic: Building Visual Memory for Letters and Words

Orthographic mapping is the process by which letter sequences and words become stored in visual memory, so that they can be recognized automatically when seen in print. The visual memory for words is also helpful for spelling words that do not follow clear phonetic rules, which is common in English and other languages with deep orthographies.

Dyslexic individuals commonly have significant difficulty storing words visually, which leads to a pattern of slow and labored reading and/or unusual or idiosyncratic spelling patterns.

The Davis Dyslexia Correction program includes strategies to strengthen visual memory for words. Using Davis tools that are incorporated with the alphabet mastery, reading exercises, and Symbol Mastery processes, the person will read the individual letters of the word out loud, both in correct order and backwards, and will also close their eyes and imagine seeing the words printed on a screen and say the letters in both direction.

Research with dyslexic children using similar techniques has been shown to result in profound improvement of spelling ability, and also been shown to “normalize” the function of the brain during a reading task.

Research Articles:

Berninger, V.W., Lee, Y., Abbott, R.D. et al. Teaching children with dyslexia to spell in a reading-writers’ workshop.. Annals of Dyslexia. 63, pages1–24, (2013).

Simone Gori, Andrea Facoetti. How the visual aspects can be crucial in reading acquisition: The intriguing case of crowding and developmental dyslexia.. Journal of Vision. 15(1):8, (2015).

Richards, Todd L.; Elizabeth H. Aylward, Virginia W. Berninger, Katherine M. Field, Amie C. Grimme, Anne L. Richards, William Nagy. Individual fMRI activation in orthographic mapping and morpheme mapping after orthographic or morphological spelling treatment in child dyslexics. Journal of Neurolinguistics,. Volume 19, Issue 1, Pages 56-86, (2005).

Richards, T., Berninger, V., Nagy, W., Parsons, A., Field, K., & Richards, A. Brain activation during language task contrasts in children with and without dyslexia: Inferring mapping processes and assessing response to spelling instruction.. Educational and Child Psychology. 22(2), 62–80, (2005).