The Science Behind ReadSmart

The Science Behind ReadSmart

Technology behind ReadSmart:

ReadSmart technology is based on decades of peer-reviewed scientific research of our team of scientists and other scientists. The idea of improving text by manually emphasizing the phrases in text has been proven to help readers in many studies. ReadSmart technology analyzes text and automates this way of formatting text within modern desktop publishing software. Although text transformed using ReadSmart technology looks similar to normal text, the subtle changes to word spacing, text size, and line endings improve reading comprehension by measurably improving eye movements.

Good readers naturally have long saccades (rapid eye movements) with few regressions (backtracking to reread). ReadSmart works by improving the eye movements of poor readers to be like those of good readers. Although ReadSmart benefits all readers, our research demonstrates that it helps poor readers the most and provides extra benefit in distracting contexts. In the busy information age, reading environments are rarely ideal.

ReadSmart technology improves legibility for the reader without distracting the reader or disrupting conventional appearance. The result is subtle: we use non-distracting microtypographic alterations to the spacing and type to adjust the characters in a document. ReadSmart formatting is implemented differentially so that macrotypographic factors that affect readability are simultaneously improved as microtypographic alterations improve legibility.


Read more:

How It Works
Why It Works
The Science Behind ReadSmart
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Studies of Phrase-based Formatting

ReadSmart automatically formats text emphasizing the phrases of meaning, preempting the work the brain does and optimizing the efficiency of reading. Decades of scientific research have demonstrated that phrase-based formatting improves reading comprehension, speed, and enjoyment.

Below is a list of peer-reviewed publications documenting the scientific evidence of the effectiveness of phrase-based formatting.

  • Anglin, J. M., & Miller, G. A. (1968). The role of phrase structure in the recall of meaningful verbal material. Psychonomic Science, 10, 343–344.
  • Beeson, P. M., & Insalaco, D. (1998). Acquired Alexia: Lessons from successful treatment. Journal of The International Neuropsychological Society, 4, 621–635.
  • Bever, T. G., Jandreau, S., Burwell, R. , Kaplan, R., & Zaenan, A. (1990). Spacing printed text to isolate major phrases improves readability. Visible Language, 25, 74–87.
  • Brozo, W. G. Schmeler, R. V., & Spires, H. A. (1983). The beneficial effect of chunking on good readers’ comprehension of expository prose. Journal of Reading, 27, 442–445.
  • Coleman, E. B., & Kim, I. (1961). Comparison of several styles of typography in English. Journal of Applied Psychology, 45, 262–267.
  • Cromer, W. (1970). The Difference Model: A new explanation for some reading difficulties. Journal of Educational Psychology, 61, 671–683.
  • Frase, L. T. , & Schwartz, N. J. (1979). Typographical cues that facilitate comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 71, 197–206.
  • Gerrell, H. R., & Mason, G. E. (1983). Computer-chunked and traditional text. Reading World, 22, 241–246.
  • Graf, R., & Torrey, J. (1966). Perception of phrase structure in written language. Proceedings of the 74th Annual Convention of the APA, 83–84.
  • Granaas, M. M. (1985). Simple, applied text parsing. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 17, 209–216.
  • Hartley, J. (2004). Designing instructional and informational text In D. Jonassen, (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology (2nd ed., pp. 917–948). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Hartley, J. (1980). Spatial cues in text. Visible Language, 14, 67–79.
  • Hartley, J., & Burnhill, P. (1971). Experiments with unjustified text. Visible Language, 5, 265–278.
  • Jandreau, S., & Bever, T. G. (1992). Phrase-spaced formats improve comprehension in average readers. Journal of Applied Psychology, 77, 143–146.
  • Jandreau, S. M., Muncer, S. J., & Bever, T. G. (1986). Improving the readability of text with automatic phrase-sensitive formatting. British Journal of Educational Technology, 17, 128–133.
  • Keenan, S. A. (1984). Effects of chunking and line length on reading efficiency. Visible Language, 18, 61–80.
  • Klare, G. R., Nichols, W. H., & Shufford, E. H. (1957). The relationship of typographic arrangement to the learning of technical material. Journal of Applied Psychology, 41, 41–45.
  • LeVasseur V. M., Macaruso, P., Palumbo, L. C., & Shankweiler, D. (2006). Syntactically cued text facilitates oral reading fluency in developing readers. Applied Psycholinguistics, 27, 423–445.
  • LeVasseur V. M., Macaruso, P., & Shankweiler, D. (2008). Promoting gains in reading fluency: a comparison of three approaches. Reading and Writing, 21, 205–230.
  • Mason, J. M., & Kendall, J. R. (1979). Facilitating reading comprehension through text structure manipulation. The Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 25, 68–76.
  • Muter, P. (1996). Interface design and optimization of reading of continuous text. In van Oostendorp, H., and de Mul, S. (Eds.) Cognitive aspects of electronic text processing. Norwood, N.J.: Ablex.
  • Negin, G. A. (1987). The effects of syntactic segmentation on reading comprehension of hearing impaired students. Reading Psychology: An International Quarterly, 8, 23–31.
  • North, A. J., & Jenkins, L. B. (1951). Reading speed and comprehension as a function of typography. Journal of Applied Psychology, 35, 225–228.
  • O’Shea, L. T., & Sindelar, P. T. (1983). The effects of segmenting written discourse on the reading comprehension of low- and high-performance readers. Reading Research Quarterly, 18, 458–465.
  • Stevens, K. C. (1981). Chunking material as an aid to reading comprehension. Journal of Reading, 25, 126–129.
  • Taylor, N. E., Wade, M. R., & Yekovich, F. R. (1985). The effects of text manipulation and multiple reading strategies on the reading performance of good and poor readers. Reading Research Quarterly, 20, 566–574.