Language structure affecting reading strategies used by normal and dyslexic readers in an inconsistent orthography: an eye-tracking study.

Language structure affecting reading strategies used by normal and dyslexic readers in an inconsistent orthography: an eye-tracking study.

First Author: Catherine Antalek -- Brunel University London
Additional authors/chairs: 
Bianca De Haan; Taeko N. Wydell
Keywords: Dyslexia, eye movement control during reading, Reading Ability, Orthography, simple view of reading
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose
The Hypothesis of Granularity and Transparency (Wydell & Butterworth, 1999) states that the prevalence of phonological dyslexia is significantly greater in languages with inconsistent orthographies with the smallest units of sound being at the phoneme level. English meets both of these conditions, therefore strategies required to read English may drive the development of poor decoding skills causing readers with phonological dyslexia to engage in compensatory eye-movement patterns. The current study aims to determine whether adult readers diagnosed with dyslexia engage in unique eye-movement patterns when reading whole sentences for meaning in English, and to test their developed reading abilities under the Simple View of Reading Model (Hoover & Gough, 1990).

Method
Early and late eye-movement measures were recorded using an eye-tracker while participants read sentences for meaning. The components described in the Simple View of Reading model were measured using four subtests from the Woodcock-Muñoz Language Survey III (WMLS III; Woodcock, Alcarado, & Ruef, 2017).

Results
Readers with dyslexia exhibited significantly shorter fixation durations, with more saccades (backwards and forwards) and fixations, and longer total reading times. The Simple View of Reading model accounted for 49.9% of the variation in reading comprehension in the current sample.

Conclusion
Readers with Dyslexia engage in unique eye-movement patterns to make up for poor decoding skills. Specifically, they exhibit shorter, but more frequent fixations with more regressions. The Simple View of Reading model can account for almost 50% of the variation in reading ability in this sample. These findings have diagnostic and educational implications.