Great New Visual Helper

I stumbled onto a WONDERFUL new teaching aid this week… by accident!   I made a quick trip to our local teacher supply store last week, and in the process of looking for something else, ran across these neat colored reading guides:

I work with a number of students who struggle with reading, and thought this could be a helpful tool to keep their eyes tracking on a single line at a time.  All those dots and lines on the page can be distracting!   So, I picked up a blue and yellow version to try out.

These made an INSTANT difference for some of my students!!   A couple of students who had struggled for years with notereading were able to sightread with steady rhythm!

I was so impressed with the results we got with this simple little tool that I did a bit of online research.   I found a ton of information on the use of colored overlays on the Irlen Institute site, and some really interesting examples of what students actually see with and without the colors on this site.    It was exciting to stumble onto something so simple and inexpensive that might help a number of students!

My local store only had a few colors, but I found a full catalog of colors, plus full page overlays on this site.   There are several brands of overlays available; the ones I ordered are called “Big Reading Guides” and made by Ashley, Inc.  They’re a perfect size to fit over a line of music in elementary method books, and I really like the opaque strips at the top and bottom.

I’d be really interested to hear from anyone who has used tools like this to work with struggling readers.   Notereading can be such a hard challenge for some students, it’s always exciting to discover new tools and tricks!


Great New Visual Helper — 6 Comments

  1. I JUST stumbled upon Irlen Institute last week one day, and was wondering about this help for several of my students. Amazing that you should mention this today. Perhaps I should follow up!
    It’s been like that all summer long! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I have known about the color thing for a long time. My oldest had issues with words jumping around on the page, etc. He discovered a blue filter helped him alot.

    So, this is one of the things I check when I have students with reading & tracking problems. I ask them if things jump around on the page when they read at school. Does mom & teacher know? What are they doing? have you tried a colored filter? One student – a jr high girl – came back the next week telling stories of what a difference a rose filter made for her.

    Thanks for the supply sources. Usually, I have just used those plastic report covers & cut them up.

  3. It is good to see that this technique if finally hitting the mainstream. I remember the research 15 years ago when my son was having trouble learning to read and I was looking for ideas like this. this color theory is fascinating and it looks like they created a practical, inexpensive tool for readers. I will have to look into them for some of my students….

  4. I have 2 dyslexic students who have used these. With one, it was a help for awhile and he no longer uses them. With the other, not so much. But this mom is also fighting his diagnosis so that might be part of the problem.

  5. I’m glad to hear that some of you have had success with the filters! I’m very excited to see how these work for a couple of students.

    Carla – Thanks for mentioning the plastic report covers. I had run across another site that suggested using plastic tab dividers and forgot to mention it in the first post. That sounds like a really good alternative for folks who don’t have a big teacher supply nearby.

  6. Thanks for your post, it reminds me that I really need to order some. I had a student with Irlen’s syndrome years ago and her color was yellow. The whole thing is really fascinating to me.

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