When you’re writing documents, consider that your readers might have difficulty comprehending whatever it is you’ve typed up — an issue that affects as much as 70 per cent of people. You aren’t a bad writer, it might just be your font choice.
Google Docs now support the “Lexend” family of fonts, designed by Thomas Jockin and educational therapist Bonnie Shaver-Troup, meant to help address issues of reading fluency (speed, accuracy and expression) using fonts with improved shapes, sizes and spacing.
While your readers will gain the most benefit when you’ve selected a version of the font that matches their reading speed, something you’ll need to take a “fluency test” to optimise, switching to Lexend is still a great option if you’re trying to make your document easier for an audience to process. With seven different Lexend fonts to pick from, it’s a good choice for parents who are looking to give their kids as much of a boost to their reading comprehension as possible.
As for how this looks in a real-world setting, here’s a normal Google Document using the default Arial font:
And here’s what that same document looks like using the tightest Lexend font:
The seven Lexend fonts you can pick from all come in different configurations, and can add a lot of extra space to your document — for comprehension’s sake — depending on your reader’s needs.
To install the new Lexend fonts, click the font drop-down menu in Google Docs, clicl “More Fonts,” search for the Lexend fonts, and choose each one you want to install. You’ll get a little preview of how the fonts might look:
If you’re interested in learning more about Shaver-Troup’s research, which led to the creation of Lexend, I recommend checking out this white paper, which goes into more detail about her work with reading proficiency.
Jockin, who built the Lexend font family with Shaver-Troup, also has a recent interview worth reading at Medium:
“…the Education system is built around the assumption students are learning how to read until 3rd grade. From there, reading is assumed to be learned and now reading is a tool in the aid of learning. But what happens if the student does not acquire this skill of reading?
They are left behind to fend for themselves or being classified as developmentally impaired because they have a hard time reading. There is a conflation of reading ability to intelligence because the field of Education does not understand this impact of the material conditions of typography have on reading proficiency and comprehension.”