Here is a sobering statistic:
How do we address this problem? One way is in our font choices.
In 1999, Bonnie Shaver-Troup, an educational therapist, observed that reading issues hid students’ true capability and intelligence.
She theorized that student reading performance could be improved by:
- Using a sans-serif font to reduce cognitive noise;
- Scaling of that font to improve potential for character recognition;
- Hyper-expansion of the spacing in between characters, creating a greater lag time and reducing potential crowding and masking effects.
Shaver-Troup, along with educator and type designer Thomas Jockin, coordinated their efforts around one simple idea:
|“A font, much like the prescription in a pair of eyeglasses, should change based on the reader’s unique needs.”|
Shaver-Troup and Jockin collaborated in the development of seven fonts which provide for improvement in reading performance.
These fonts are the Lexend family of fonts.
A study which compared third-grade students reading text in Times New Roman and Lexend found that the average words correct per minute (WCPM) was 19.8% higher when the text was in Lexend. This is great news for struggling readers!
The Lexend family of fonts is available both on Google Fonts & as an open-source download.
To install in Google Docs, click the font drop-down menu, then “More Fonts.” Search for the Lexend fonts, and choose which ones you want to install. The default is Lexend Deca.
You can download an open-source version of the font for use on your computer at the link below.There is also a Chrome extension that will allow you to change the font on any website to Lexend.
Try out these Lexend fonts with your students and see if their reading is improved. To learn more about the Lexend font and the research behind it, visit www.lexend.com.
I’m Chris Malanga and I’ve been an Educational Technologist with the Northern Buckeye Education Council/NWOCA since 2006. In this role, I help teachers, administrators, and students integrate technology into our schools. My passion is helping people develop skills to change the world of education!