Coloured lenses and reading: Recent research on reading achievement, reading strategies and causal mechanisms

Year: 1994

Author: Robinson, Gregory L.

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The effects of visual processing on reading achievement have recently been highlighted by the proposal of a visual-perceptual dysfunction likely to be associated with retinal-sensory after-imaging, which may cause the overlapping of word images between consecutive eye fixations in reading.

This paper will firstly review research evidence related to reading achievement for this disability and likely causal mechanisms of the problem. The review will be followed by description of a series of evolving investigations by the author which were designed to ascertain likely effects on specific reading skills and strategies. The pattern of changes in reading achievement subscores found in these investigations suggests that the reduction in print and background distortions reported by experimental groups may allow more working memory space to be devoted to the processing of continuous text rather than to the identification of individual words. This in turn may facilitate reading comprehension and also improve word recognition by giving greater access to syntactic and semantic text contextual cues.

The implications of these functions will be discussed in relation to other investigations of reading strategies for children with learning problems. Preliminary results for a more detailed longitudinal study, involving multiple experimental and control groups with a cross-over design, will also be presented.