A Small Scale Study into the Effect that Text & Background Colour has on Processing and Self-Correction Rates for Childrens’ On-Screen Reading

By Nicholas Vanderschantz, Claire Timpany, David Whitehead and Wendy Carss.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Pedagogical practices in formal educational settings together with the nature of communication technologies in the media and elsewhere mean that children will encounter on-screen typography and screen-based learning opportunities in both formal school settings and during their daily recreational pursuits. Internationally, there is a lack of research informing what good reading practice might look like when teachers use reading material in a screen-based environment. More specifically, there is a lack of research around best practices for the design of this material for children. Greater understanding of how the colour of text and the colour of background influences the “readability” of these reading materials is required. This research sets out to determine the readability of text and background colours in on-screen books for young readers through discussion of the literature to date, as well as discussion of a small scale study which includes a rate-of-error experiment as well as qualitative feedback to provide greater knowledge of the most positive reading environments for children.

Keywords: Children’s Reading, On-Screen Books, Text and Background Differentiation, Self Correction, Rate of Error, Processing in Reading, Automaticity in Reading

International Journal of the Book, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp.75-88. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.245MB).

Nicholas Vanderschantz

Lecturer, Computer Graphic Design, Department of Computer Science, School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand

Nicholas’ area of research focus has been in childrens’ on-screen reading. These investigations have specifically looked into how typographic spacing could best affect childrens’ eye movements during reading. This area of exploration saw him graduate with a Masters in Computer Graphic Design from Whanganui School of Design, New Zealand in 2007. Nicholas is a lecturer in Computer Graphic design at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. As a central part of his teaching and research at the University of Waikato Nicholas pursues his interests in typography for children as well as socially responsible graphic design and graphic design education.

Claire Timpany

Lecturer, Computer Graphic Design, Department of Computer Science, School of Computing and Mathematical Science, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand

Claire completed her Masters in Computer Graphic Design at Wanganui School of Design, New Zealand. She is currently a lecturer in Computer Graphic Design at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, teaching both print and screen based papers. Claire’s main areas of interest and research are typography, print design and physical interaction design. Because of her love for both printed books and interactivity this is where her research interests lie. Her research is currently focussed on the way in which people interact with printed material and how the benefits of electronic media can be applied to traditional media, such as print, to aid it in developing and become more beneficial and keeping up with the digital age.

David Whitehead

Senior Lecturer, Arts and Language Education Department, School of Education, University of Waikato, New Zealand

Dr. David Whitehead is senior lecturer in the Arts and Language Education Department of the School of Education at the University of Waikato. He teaches post-graduate classes in language, cognition and neuro-linguistics, literacy and thinking and language and cognition in life.

Wendy Carss

Senior Tutor, Arts and Language Education Department, School of Education, University of Waikato, New Zealand

Wendy is currently Senior Tutor in the Arts and Language Education department at the University of Waikato, teaching literacy education papers to preservice teachers. Her thesis for her Master of Education degree focused on the role of oral language in developing comprehension during instructional reading lessons.

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