The possibility to use non-invasive brain stimulation to modulate reading performance in individuals with developmental dyslexia (DD) has been recently explored by few empirical investigations. The present systematic review includes nine studies which have employed transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) aiming at improving reading abilities in both typical readers and individuals with DD. Anodal tDCS over the left temporo-parietal cortex—a region which is typically involved in phonological and orthographic processing during reading tasks and underactive in individuals with DD—was the most frequently used montage. The majority of studies employing such stimulation protocol showed significant improvement in differential reading subprocesses. More precisely, word decoding was improved in adult readers, whereas non-word and low-frequency word reading in younger individuals. Furthermore, tDCS was found to be specifically effective in poor readers and individuals with DD rather than typical readers, in spite of the specific brain region targeted by the stimulation; Left frontal, left temporo-parietal, and right cerebellar tDCS failed to modulate reading in already proficient readers. Overall, tDCS appears to be a promising remedial tool for reading difficulties, even when applied to younger populations with reading problems. Further empirical evidence is needed to confirm the potential of neuromodulation as a successful intervention method for DD.
- tDCS, neuromodulation, reading, dyslexia, intervention