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The characteristics of pupils who use coloured overlays as a reading help

Nataša Metlika (2016) The characteristics of pupils who use coloured overlays as a reading help. MSc thesis.

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    International studies (PISA and PIRLS) and NAK results show low level of reading literacy among Slovenian students. The most numerous group of students with reading disabilities are students with dyslexia. Experts attempt to help students with reading disabilities in many ways, one of which is the use of coloured overlays as reading help. Coloured overlays are thin, transparent and coloured films that are used as diagnostic assessment tool of visual stress and as reading help at the same time. Coloured overlays, filters and lenses from different manufacturers can be found on the market. In Slovenia they have been used in the form of coloured reading rulers for about a decade. Parents and pedagogical staff are not well acquainted with coloured overlays and are not aware of their important role in reading; on the other hand, they often notice positive effect of coloured overlays on reading. The theoretical part of this master's thesis presents the reading process, reading disabilities and students with learning disabilities; the most numerous group among them is the children with dyslexia. The emphasis lies on the visual theory of dyslexia which explains dyslexia as a consequence of letter movement perception, blurry picture and frequent headaches. Symptoms can in scientific literature occur with different names – visual stress syndrome, scotopic sensitivity syndrome or Meares-Irlen syndrome. The term visual stress will be used in this thesis when describing characteristics of students with the mentioned difficulties. Many authors prove the existence of visual stress, whereas the others contradict those theories. H. Irlen has noticed that the use of coloured overlays reduces the symptoms of visual stress and improves reading. The main aim of our study was to investigate the common characteristics of students comprised in the sample, who use coloured overlays to read more fluently. Furthermore, the aim was to elucidate the differences between students diagnosed with dyslexia and students without dyslexia and to investigate how these children perceive black print on white paper. The empirical part of this thesis presents qualitative study, a case study about characteristics of students, who use coloured overlays as reading help. A descriptive method was used for statistical data processing. Furthermore, qualitative study approach and purposive sample were used. The sample consisted of 12 students (5 girls and 7 boys) with reading disabilities, all aged 8 to 15. All students have difficulties with reading black print on white paper and they all benefit from using coloured overlays. Seven students were diagnosed with dyslexia by experts and five students do not have such diagnosis. Data for this study were collected with semi-structured interviews with students and their parents. The interviews were conducted by skilled experts at Institute for Dyslexia in Ljubljana. The results show that students who use coloured overlays as reading help encounter difficulties with reading and visual distortion; they are creative and have difficulties with orientation, writing, memory and self-image. These characteristics are associated with signs of visual stress. All students encounter difficulties with perception of black print on white paper and have difficulties to move lines. Furthermore, they see blurry letters and do not usually perceive spaces between words. Nevertheless, differences occur among the students in the sample. Students with dyslexia differ from students without dyslexia in presence of dyslexia in the family, pre-school games, plans in the future, sensory sensibility and creative ideas. This master thesis will contribute to special education and good practice in the field of detection and diagnostic assessment of students with difficulty reading black print on white paper. In addition, it provides some options of using coloured overlays as reading help. The major limitation of the study is a small sample size and lack of data due to unstructured interviews. For further studies in this field the examination of student characteristics with structured interviews based on determined characteristics from the scientific literature would be essential.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: reading, reading difficulties and disabilities, dyslexia, visual theory of dyslexia, visual stress, coloured overlays
    Number of Pages: 221
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    izr. prof. dr. Marija KavklerMentor
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=50126&select=(ID=11370569)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 4259
    Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2016 13:51
    Last Modified: 02 Dec 2016 13:51
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/4259

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