How Does Vertical Reading Affect Reading Speed?

Br Ir Orthopt J. 2020 Aug 5;16(1):38-43. doi: 10.22599/bioj.149.


Purpose: Vertical reading is an adaptive reading strategy sometimes used in homonymous hemianopia. This study aimed to measure horizontal and vertical reading speeds in visually normal volunteers using the Radner Reading Chart.

Methods: Fifteen orthoptic students, mean age 19.7 years, took part in this repeated measures study. Participants read sentences aloud from the Radner Reading Chart horizontally and rotated vertically, to read up and down the line. Words read correctly and the time taken to read each sentence were recorded.

Results: Reading speeds were calculated (words read correctly per second) for horizontal text (2.95 words per second) and for vertical text, reading up the line (1.73 words per second) and reading down the line (1.57 words per second). Reading horizontal text was significantly faster than reading vertical text. Reading horizontal text was 1.22 words per second faster than reading text vertically up (p < 0.0001) and 1.38 words per second faster than text vertically down (p < 0.0001). There was no statistically significant difference between reading text vertically up the line and vertically down the line (0.16 words per second, p = 0.42).

Conclusion: Horizontal reading speed, measured with the Radner Reading Chart, was significantly faster than both vertical reading speeds. There was no significant difference between reading vertically up the line and reading vertically down the line. The slower time taken to read the vertically orientated sentences had a greater effect on reading speed than the number of errors made.

Keywords: hemianopia; read; reading; stroke; vertical.