Have you heard of Reading Rulers? They are a special reading aid designed to help with Visual Stress. I had heard good things about Crossbow Reading Rulers, but it was a few years ago before we were really in the stage of "reading" and I didn't give them much thought at the time.
Now here we are a few years later, and you've probably heard me say that my 7 year old loves math, but could care less about Reading. I've never felt like he finds reading difficult. He will do his lessons, he will read flashcards or sentences just fine. Give him a book, however, and he starts to "zone out" quickly.
Recently, I was given an opportunity to review a set of Reading Rulers, and figured it wouldn't hurt to try them out. Why? Well, according to Crossbow Education, "Visual Stress describes the discomfort experienced by some when viewing text. It affects 20% of the population, and 5% to the point of making reading very difficult. It can cause headaches, poor tracking, the apparent movement of words and letters, and slow or halting reading to name just a few symptoms."
The poor tracking is what caught my attention. It seemed like when he was transitioning between lines or during the longer passages that his focus would shift to the pictures, to asking me questions, to anything but the text.
So here we are trying out the researched-based reading rulers. I received 10 colors, with instructions for a simplified assessment. I had him go through the assessment reading with each ruler color by color. The color palette includes Magenta, Celery, Sky, Pink, Yellow, Grass, Aqua, Purple, Orange and Jade. I was instructed to go in order, but to have him choose the color he felt most comfortable with, and he could change it at any point if a color down the line suited him better.
He only changed colors a few times, and in the end he chose orange and has been using it. So far, I am undetermined if he chose a colored overlay purely for the novelty of it (he is 7 after all!) or if he is truly benefiting from the colored background. However, I intend to research Visual Stress more now that I am aware of the condition and I will be monitoring his reading with and without the ruler. I will most certainly update you on it as well.
The Reading Rulers are very nice quality. They are flexible, but sturdy. There are two sides--matte and gloss, and there is also a narrow strip for only small highlighted areas, or a wider strip at the bottom for larger passages. They are so thin so you can even use them as a bookmark. I would suggest that they would also be useful for beginning readers who are still in the "pointing to each word" stage, as well as others who may have tracking issues when reading. You can get a 10-pack (of all 10 colors, 5 most popular, or a full pack of one color) for just $16.95. To find out more information, be sure to check out Crossbows Education, as they have a variety of products for visual stress and dyslexia, or find them on Facebook.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
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