Sunday, November 27, 2011

More, Simple Strategies for Struggling Readers

After my last blog article, I have been receiving requests for more focusing strategies to help challenged readers. In response, here are a few, additional recommendations that hopefully will also help many of my readers.

Because the white background of a page of text, many readers experience something called “visual stress”. This condition causes fatigue for the reader’s eyes and negatively affects the reading experience. To help alleviate this visual stress, consider changing the white ground on each page to be read. How is this accomplished? Actually, it can be quite easy and inexpensive to do this.

1. Colored overlays can be purchased for a nominal cost at some office supply stores. A specific color can provide better focusing results for a reader than another color. Some persons who report that letters or words “move” or “wave out” on a page can often read better with a deep blue or yellow overlay. Others can benefit from a green, pink or even red overlay. It is necessary to try each color until improved reading is the result or until letters and words appear “unmoving” to the reader.

2. Another approach to this same end is to try various colors of paper on which to print documents or worksheets. Some pastel shades can be helpful to many individuals. However, some readers experience improved focus and reading with brighter colors. Purchasing a ream of paper with a variety of shades is often a good idea. Try one color per week. Print documents on that one color for the period of a week before trying another color or shade. This inexpensive option can greatly decrease the visual stress for many readers and is certainly worth trying.

3. The Reading Focus Cards will also allow for changing white page backgrounds to a color of the reader's choice. At the same time, these inexpensive and sensory-appealing tools will focus the eye on one or two lines of text at a time while blocking out more surrounding text than any other reading aid available.

If none of these options help to improve an individual’s reading experience, then it is recommended that the reader visit a developmental optometrist for further evaluation and recommendations.

To read testimonials from teachers, parents and students who have used the Reading Focus Cards, please visit

For more information: For focusing tools that work! For info, resources, and support

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

One, Simple Strategy for More Focus

So often, parents will ask for strategies to help their children focus and concentrate, especially when reading or doing homework assignments. When making suggestions, I always like to start with the simple things parents can do to help. Here is just one idea that is no-cost, easy, and can be a relief to some children.

If a child is overwhelmed by too much to read on a worksheet, it is a good idea to fold the worksheet into thirds, fourths, or even eighths, if needed. That way, only what needs to be focused upon at the moment is made visible. The distracting, surrounding text is “out of sight and out of mind” for the moment.

This approach works particularly well when written directions involve several steps. It is also a good strategy for math worksheets. If a child sees 20 math problems on a sheet, those problems can appear daunting enough for the child so that he does not even want to begin the assignment. On the other hand, if the worksheet is folded, revealing only 1 or 2 problems at a time, the child can better focus with much more attention on each problem. The remaining math problems are out of sight and, therefore, not an issue of distraction, or even anxiety in some cases. As each problem is completed, re-fold the paper to reveal the other problems, 1 or 2 at a time. This strategy usually results in better accuracy, too, when the work is completed.

You might try this “win-win approach” the next time your child appears overwhelmed with an assignment that “seems too hard”. Your child just might thank you for it and use the strategy again later on his own!

For more information: For focusing tools that work! For info, resources, and support

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Questions about Struggling Readers---with Answers!

This week I would like to post some questions that have been asked this week either online, during phone consultations or in-person conferences. To answer, I will provide 1 or more related links for each of the questions. Please feel free to post your comments, additional questions, and other related links that you feel might also be helpful to our readers! Thank you in advance for your good input!

1. Where can I find websites and resources for my child to work with math to any level he chooses?

Three of the best math resources for this purpose would be: From basic arithmetic to college calculus and beyond! High school and college math lessons on video! This site includes Ask Dr. Math, Problems of the Week, discussion groups and much more.

2. Where can I locate a list of good classic novels that young girls could read?

The following books are available via:

Lewis Carroll
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Through the Looking-Glass

Edith Nesbit
The Enchanted Castle
Five Children and It

Louisa May Alcott
Little Women

J. M. Barrie
Peter Pan

Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Secret Garden

Kenneth Grahame
The Wind in the Willows

by L. Frank Baum
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

3. Where can I find focusing tools to help beginning readers? Product website for the Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759), solutions created by an experienced teacher for struggling readers Professional website with special needs reading info, support, and resources for parents, teachers and administrators

4. What resources and links are available for helping 9-10 year-old struggling readers? How to help struggling readers
Excellent PowerPoint to help struggling readers based on Dr. Sharon H. Faber’s How to Teach Reading When You’re Not a Reading Teacher

5. How do you know the exact reading skills a struggling reader should learn? Comprehensive list of reading skills needed for elementary grades with best practices Top 10 Ways to Improve Reading Skills & Other Activities

Do you have a question that could help a struggling reader in you life? Please post in the comment box below here.

For more information: For focusing tools that work! For info, resources, and support

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Statistics for AD/HD---Are We in Epidemic Mode?

Why are there so many children being diagnosed with some form of AD/HD? The numbers have increased markedly in recent years. The most current statistics for this disorder are a true cause for concern---now more than ever.

According to the 2010 National Health Interview Survey, the following statistics reflect the incidence of AD/HD in children (ages 3-17 years) in the U.S.:

Number of children 3-17 years of age ever diagnosed with AD/HD: 5.2 million
Percent of children 3-17 years of age ever diagnosed with AD/HD: 8.4%
Percent of boys 3-17 years of age ever diagnosed with AD/HD: 11.2%
Percent of girls 3-17 years of age ever diagnosed with AD/HD 5.5%

(Source: Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Children: National Health Interview Survey, 2010)

Number of ambulatory care visits (to physician offices, hospital outpatient and emergency departments) with attention deficit disorder as primary diagnosis: 7.3 million (average annual, 2006-2007)

(Source: Ambulatory Medical Care Utilization Estimates for 2007)

Is the incidence of AD/HD increasing? Or are we simply more aware of the symptoms and behaviors associated with the condition? Could there be other causes of AD/HD that have resulted in the statistics we have above here?

I would like to hear about your opinions and experiences relating to these questions. At the same time, reliable data and facts presented with links to reliable data, and/or references supporting the posted comments will be most appreciated. Please post your comments in the box below here. I look forward to hearing from you.

In the meantime, I would also like to provide a few links for general information about AD/HD. I hope you find these resources to be helpful!

General information about AD/HD in children

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
– Guide to AD/HD, including how to tell if a child may have attention deficit disorder and tips for parents. (National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)
– Learn about the signs, symptoms, causes, and treatment of attention deficit disorder. (National Institute of Mental Health)

ADHD: What Parents Should Know – Includes signs, symptoms, and treatment of attention deficit disorder, or ADD/ADHD, in children. (Family Doctor)

For more information: For focusing tools that work! For info, resources, and support

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