Saturday, May 3, 2014

Helpful Focus & Tracking Resources for Challenged Readers

Is your child a reluctant reader? If so, do you know why? Are some of your students unable to stay focused when reading in class? Do you know a child whose eyes wander all over a page of text or only "see" the pictures on a page? These are only a few of the reading problems that teachers and parents often describe to us and for which they often request appropriate strategies, resources and apps to help.

If an individual of any age (even an adult) is struggling with focus or tracking, the first step should be to seriously consider visiting a developmental optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam (Please see resources to follow here.) This special medical professional can test, evaluate, diagnose and provide treatment for vision-related problems whose symptoms often manifest in the classroom. These challenges will negatively impact an individual's reading skills (reading fluency, rate, comprehension and retention of what is read) and, as a result, that individual's overall academic success.

Secondly, the right strategies and resources for students with these reading issues can go a long way in helping them manage specific symptoms or even improve the reading experience for them. Today, in our weekly blog article, we are addressing these same needs. Since we at Brennan Innovators are all about reading improvement and academic success, we wanted to provide our readers with some resources specific to focus and tracking. In this way, perhaps we can help to positively affect the level of reading success for many struggling readers.

Helpful Focus and Tracking Resources

5 Simple Concentration Building Techniques for Kids with ADHD
by Dr. Robert Myers, Child Psychologist
Children with ADHD typically have impairment of executive functions such as focusing and memory. Provide them with encouragement and track their progress
with these helpful strategies.

College of Optometrists in Vision Development
COVD is a non-profit, international membership association of eye care professionals including optometrists, optometry students, and vision therapists. Established in 1971, COVD provides board certification for optometrists and vision therapists who are prepared to offer state-of-the-art services in behavioral and developmental vision care, vision therapy and visual rehabilitation. This website will offer many resources for parents and educators as well as a Locator Tool (accessible via the upper-right-hand corner of each web page on the site) to help visitors find a developmental optometrist in their region/area.

Eye Focusing, Coordination, and Tracking Problems---from Children's Vision Coalition
A comprehensive list with explanations of vision-related problems whose symptoms often manifest in the classroom and can affect reading and academic success. A thorough (comprehensive) eye exam is necessary for detection and treatment.

Vision and Reading---from Children's Vision Information Network (for Parents)
Important information about why your child might be struggling in the classroom.

Eye Can Learn's Eye Exercises
This is an excellent website with eye exercises to improve learning and visual attention (perception, tracking, focusing, and eye teaming).

TeacherVision's Printables---from (for Educators)
Use these FREE printables and resources to help your students focus, keep track, analyze, and get the most from their reading selections.

TeacherVision's Reading Resources(only)---from (for Educators)
Enhance reading skills with this extensive collection of printables, lesson plans, and activities on a variety of skill-building topics. Included you'll find popular resources for reading comprehension, phonics, literature, story analysis, alphabetizing, reading games and puzzles, and more. Plus, use reading in cross-curricular study with lessons that connect reading with science, social studies, history, math, and art. Learning to read well is a vital skill for students to master. Help them achieve that goal with these reading resources.

Reading Apps for Children---Common Sense Media (Various prices for Android & Apple)
An assortment of children's apps to help improve various reading skills.

Reading Focus Cards Desktop App (Patent 8,360,779)
This DESKTOP app is the digital version of the low-tech, physical Reading Focus Cards tools (Patent 7,565,759), solutions for struggling readers. This app provides very practical support for children and adults with ADHD, dyslexia, low vision, stroke or brain injury issues, autism and other conditions that can affect reading success. This desktop application promotes more FOCUSED online reading of almost ALL digital media (webpages, PDF files, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets & more.) In addition, the app supports touch-screen technology (where applicable).
1. For Macs (desktops & notebooks):
Visit the Mac App Store and search for Reading Focus Cards or go directly to
2. For Windows PCs (desktops & laptops):
Visit Gumroad at OR visit the Microsoft Windows Store and search for the app called Reading Focus Cards. (No URLs are ever provided for apps in the Windows Store.)

15 Mac Apps to Help You Focus and Work Productively (some FREE)---by Stef Gonzaga
15 Mac apps that help you focus, whether it’s dimming the screen, blocking social networking sites, closing inactive applications, or working in time bursts. You can use one or mix a couple of these apps to fit the way you work.

Focus Mask---from TenTrip, LLC (Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later) Price: $0.99
Focus Mask is another Mac application designed to get rid of distractions while you work. But more than just putting the active windows on stage with the rest behind the curtain, Focus Mask allows you to selectively choose which window to bring to the front and to isolate a part of a window through easy shortcuts. You can do this either through pattern detection or by manually highlighting the chosen portion by dragging and clicking the selection.

For more information on customizable reading tools for focus and tracking challenges, please visit: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image courtesy of:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at

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