The Effect of Illustration on Improving Text Comprehension in Dyslexic Adults

Mona Holmqvist Olander, Eva Wennås Brante, Marcus Nyström

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This study analyses the effect of pictures in reading materials on the viewing patterns of dyslexic adults. By analysing viewing patterns using eye-tracking, we captured differences in eye movements between young adults with dyslexia and controls based on the influence of reading skill as a continuous variable of the total sample. Both types of participants were assigned randomly to view either text-only or a text + picture stimuli. The results show that the controls made an early global overview of the material and (when a picture was present) rapid transitions between text and picture. Having text illustrated with a picture decreased scores on questions about the learning material among participants with dyslexia. Controls spent 1.7% and dyslexic participants 1% of their time on the picture. Controls had 24% fewer total fixations; however, 29% more of the control group's fixations than the dyslexic group's fixations were on the picture. We also looked for effects of different types of pictures. Dyslexic subjects exhibited a comparable viewing pattern to controls when scenes were complex, but fewer fixations when scenes were neutral/simple. Individual scan paths are presented as examples of atypical viewing patterns for individuals with dyslexia as compared with controls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-65
Number of pages24
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017-Feb-01
Externally publishedYes

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Educational Sciences (503)


  • dyslexia
  • eye-tracking
  • multi-modal learning
  • text–picture comprehension


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