Friday, August 23, 2013

Is Your Child Working TOO Hard Just to Read?

Tips & Tools to Help Struggling Readers

Is FOCUSING a struggle for your child or students when they attempt to read? Or is COMPREHENSION more of a problem? Could the root of the issue actually be memory and RETENTION?

Teachers are well aware that from Kindergarten to second grade, children LEARN to READ. However, beginning in third grade, children READ to LEARN. There is a significant difference between the learning objectives for these two stages of a child’s academic development. When children have LEARNED or mastered the skills to READ, they begin to APPLY those reading skills to all other learning. Unfortunately, if a child has not yet mastered the ability to read, all other learning can be quite challenging or even significantly delayed.

As a result, the third grade is very often the time when student reading issues begin to be noticed. If you are a teacher, you may already have some concerns about a few students struggling to read even though it is very early in the new school year. As the parent of a challenged reader, you may have noticed that attempting to read a story or do homework are almost painful for your child---AND you! You may see that your child appears to be working TOO hard just to READ.

What can be done to begin to help a struggling child or student with these focusing and reading challenges? We have gathered a few tips here involving "color" that we think will give you a place to start. We hope they will help your child or students to enjoy much more reading SUCCESS!

Colorful Tips & Tools for Struggling Readers

1. Reading Focus Cards---These customizable tools combine all the features of many other traditional reading tools and more. The Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759) isolate 1 to 2 lines of text on a page (depending on font size) AND block out more surrounding text than any other tool available. In addition, these tools allow the reader to change white page backgrounds with a chosen colored filter (included in each package). Because of these features, the Reading Focus Cards can be especially helpful for:

-Convergence insufficiency
-Low vision
-Stroke recovery or TBI issues
-Other conditions that impact reading success.

The inexpensive Reading Focus Cards can also be used with e-readers like Kindles, Nooks, etc. (Model #001-Shorter) and e-tablets like iPads, Android tablets, etc. (Model #002-Longer) to promote even more focus and concentration. For more information about these unique reading tools, visit

2. Colored Paper---When reading printed media such as worksheets and other documents, consider requesting that they be copied on colored paper instead of the traditional white paper. Your local school or office supply store will usually be able to provide a ream of several colors to try in one package. Try a DIFFERENT color of paper each week until the BEST color for reading is determined. This color will promote more FOCUS and EYE COMFORT than the other colors. As a result, not only will the individual reader experience more focus, but better comprehension and retention will also be possible.

3. Colored Overlays---Try placing a colored yet transparent plastic sheet over a page of text to be read. These transparent but colored plastic sheets can be purchased at some office or art supply stores. Consider trying a variety of different colored sheets, one color at a time with a resting interval between each color’s trial. There is a good possibility that one particular sheet color may provide more focus and eye comfort for the reader than other colored sheets. Experiment with pastel colors as well as bright ones. Introducing the best or most helpful color can positively impact the appearance of the printed text for a reader with symptoms of dyslexia or other reading challenges. With the use of the most appropriate color, an individual reader may report that the letters “stopped moving”, “waving out” or “shadowing” on the page of text.

These three tips employ color to change white backgrounds on pages of text. A white background can cause what is often called visual stress for some readers. This can be especially troublesome when the text on the page is black. The contrast between the text and the background can be too stark. As a result, such readers often struggle with focusing, which also affects attention and comprehension. These visually-stressed readers can also experience fatigue much sooner, and their retention is often significantly impacted.

If you try the strategies described above here, and the reading problems persist, consider visiting (or suggesting a visit to) a developmental optometrist. This medical professional can test, evaluate, diagnose and treat children, teens and adults with vision-related reading challenges. Please keep in mind that an individual of any age can have 20/20 vision (determined by a traditional optometrist or optician) and yet still have a vision-related reading challenge. To locate such a developmental optometrist in your area, please visit the website of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) at


Press Release - Patented ADHD Reading Tools Can Help ALL Kinds of Readers

For information on customizable reading tools: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image courtesy of: Brennan Innovators, LLC:

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