Some poor readers just can’t help themselves

[Originally posted 1/2/2009 in the previous version of my blog–sfj]

A study by the University of Oxford has identified a genetic link to poor reading skills:

A common genetic variant may be partly to blame for poor reading ability, research suggests.

The variant, carried by more than one in seven people, has already been associated with dyslexia.
Tests by the University of Oxford found people carrying the key sequence tended to perform worse than average in tests of their reading ability.
But the study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, found no impact on general intelligence.

We care about the reading skills of our audience, and are often counseled to write at the eighth-grade level as measured by readability indexes. But it may be that a significant portion of our audience will still struggle to read what we write.

I suggest that we keep in mind that there’s more than one way to communicate, and more than one channel to do it. If you can get your point across with an illustration, do it! I don’t mean instead of text, but in addition to text.

Published by Steven Jong

I am a lifelong technical communicator, a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication (STC), a former STC board member, and chair of the first STC Certification Commission. I occasionally blog about these and other topics.

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