Do Special Fonts Help People with Dyslexia?

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Volume 7, Issue 1
January 2018


Annals of Dyslexia

  • Does font preference influence reading performance?
  • Will the Dyslexie font or the OpenDyslexic font lead to more accurate and faster reading? 
  • Do children demonstrate a preference for either the Dyslexie font or the OpenDyslexic font?

Christian Boer, a self-identified individual with dyslexia and developer of the Dyslexie font, claims that the font positively impacts the reading performance of individuals with dyslexia. An article in Annals of Dyslexia by S. M. Kuster et al. reports research involving two experiments that counter Boer’s claim.

The Kuster et al. article—“Dyslexie Font Does Not Benefit Reading in Children With or Without Dyslexia”—concludes that “the font Dyslexie, developed to facilitate the reading of dyslexic people [sic], does not have the desired effect.”

The authors also comment that there is no harm or reason to discourage children from reading in Dyslexie, if they wish; however, a cautionary note is also voiced that, as with all controversial therapies, resources expended for Dyslexie should not “shift focus … from interventions that have been proven effective.” The general discussion portion of the article by Kuster et al. is an informative and authoritative must-read for all who work with, advocate for, and support individuals with dyslexia.

An earlier Annals article—“The Effect of a Specialized Dyslexia Font, OpenDyslexic, on Reading Rate and Accuracy”—arrives at similar conclusions about another so-called dyslexia font:

Results … show no improvement in reading rate or accuracy for individual students with dyslexia, as well as the group as a whole. While some students commented that the font was ‘new’ or ‘different’, none of the participants reported preferring to read material presented in that font. These results indicate there may be no benefit for translating print materials to this font.

Links to both Annals articles are provided:

The Effect of a Specialized Dyslexia Font, OpenDyslexic, on Reading Rate and Accuracy, by Jessica J. Wery and Jennifer A. Diliberto (IDA Annals of Dyslexia, July 2017)

Dyslexie Font Does Not Benefit Reading in Children With or Without Dyslexia, by Sanne M. Kuster, Marjolijn van Weerdenburg, Marjolein Gompel, and Anna M. T. Bosman (IDA Annals of Dyslexia, December 2017)


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