Do easy-to-read adaptations really facilitate sentence processing for adults with a lower level of education? An experimental eye-tracking study
Learning and instruction
Year of publication
The "Easy-to-Read" guidelines recommend visual support and lexical simplification to facilitate text processing, but few studies have empirically verified the efficacy of these guidelines. This study examined the influence of these recommendations on sentence processing by examining eye movements at the text- and word-level in adult readers. We tested 30 non-university adults (low education level) and 30 university adults (high education level). The experimental task consisted of 60 sentences. Half were accompanied by an image and half were not, and half contained a low-frequency word and half a high-frequency word. Results showed that visual support and lexical simplification facilitated processing in both groups of adults, and non-university adults were significantly slower than university adults at sentence processing. However, lexical simplification resulted in faster processing in the non-university adults’ group. Conclusions focus on the mechanisms in which both adaptations benefit readers, and practical implications for reading comprehension.