I have known since I was 14 that I have issues with reading. The lines run together. For years I could "get by" if I forgot my glasses, but as I typed (yes, typed -- I was a secretary), the lines would be difficult to follow. As I got to the end of one line and looked left, it would be difficult to find the correct next line. I would skip entire lines, sometimes entire paragraphs, when I tried to type without my glasses.
Well, now I am older. I have developed astigmatism in my right eye. When I go to get my eyes checked, even when we try, I am not able to get a lens for my right eye that is clear. Now even with my glasses, it can be difficult to read fluently, as I go from line to line, trying to always find the next line quickly and smoothly.
That doesn't even touch on those times when I am reading after lunch. My kids laugh at my after-lunch-read-alouds. I don't make sense. I'm trying to read a sentence, am falling asleep, wake up, can't find where I was... They think it's funny. Well, I try not to take that muscle relaxer at bedtime anymore (it was contributing to somnolence), so the "sleepies" aren't as much of a problem, but reading smoothly and fluently is still difficult for me.
Call it visual stress, call it whatever you want, but I have long had to use something to follow line-to-line to keep my reading running smoothly as I home school and read out loud. Using bookmarks works some, but can be distracting, because then there are sideways words on the book mark I am trying to use to read across the page with -- distracting.
In September/October I had the opportunity to try out a product called Reading Rulers. They are a product produced by a company called Crossbow Education. Crossbow carries a wide variety of learning tools in addition to Reading Rulers, such as Sand Timers, Magnetic Foam Letters, and general learning products for Spelling, Phonics, Mathematics, and Language Arts.
The Crossbow website has an article about Reading Through Color. In the article they say that people with visual stress often find that if the individual can find the color that works for him/her, it can "do much to increase the reading speed, comprehension, and comfort of many children." And it said, "although color can often be the key, not any color will do. For each individual there is a specific hue (tint) and saturation (depth of color) that will “work” best, so it is important that a sufficiently wide selection of colors is provided so that everybody's needs are met. In some cases individuals requiring a deeper saturation “double up” two overlays of the same color to achieve the desired effect." I thought, "Hmmm. That's interesting. It probably doesn't apply to my situation, though."
The Reading Rulers have a small transparent colored side on one side, a wider transparent colored side on the other side (with a solid, dark line across it), with a wide opaque band through the middle. I tried these Reading Rulers many various ways -- reading through the color line by line (narrow color strip),
by the paragraph (wide color strip), and just reading without color by marking my line with the solid dark strip across the top of the narrow color strip. The photo on the left could be taken as being an example of either, but on the left I was reading by the solid line at the top of the blue. It is easier to see the line in some of the other photos.I wanted to try out all the colors, but I inevitably kept going back to the blue and the teal, as these are my favorite colors.
I was especially thrilled that these Reading Rulers enable me to read the tiny, tiny print in my pocket Bible that I bought to carry to church, that I have barely used because I found it just too impossible. Now I can read it.
The lady in church saw the Reading Ruler and wanted one. I emailed her the company information, and she immediately ordered a set! It seems her husband has the same reading issues I have.
So I was working my way through the set, trying out all the different colors. I basically did it by using a different Reading Ruler in each of my books, leaving it there as a book mark. (Do you recognize any of these books by their content?)
I really like the yellow, but with a lot of the colors I just found myself reading above the dark blue line, finding it actually more stressful to read through the colors, and uncomfortable for my eyes.
Here is a stack of my books with the Reading Rulers sticking out of each one. That is when I realized I was only using eight of the Reading Rulers, so I had to track down the two missing ones. They were up on the table by my recliner, so I had to try out the colors I hadn't used yet.
My daughter loves this color -- painted the walls of her room this color. But who can read through this? Argh!
But when I finally tried the pale pink, oh my goodness! They were right! I had finally found my color! We work together; we fly! I am finally cruising through my reading! I was so amazed!
Here it is:
So, that's the scoop. The pink is me. Even though the pale blue is the color I like, and I like lavender, and can read better through the yellow than some, pink is the one for me.
So here it is: my personal opinion--
I really like Reading Rulers. Don't ask to borrow mine. I will give you the website so that you can order your own, but I am not willing to lend my Reading Rulers to anyone! Sorry.
How about you? Do you have issues? These Reading Rulers are an amazingly useful, helpful tool for both you and your students, and they only cost $16.95 for a set of ten colors. Then, once you find the color that works best for you, you can also purchase full-page Color Overlays, if you think that will work for you. You can contact Crossbow for more information.
For now, for me, I'm very happy with my pale pink Reading Ruler.
Reading Rulers are a handy educational aid for readers of any age.
This has been a Schoolhouse Crew Review.
To see more reviews of Reading Rulers by the Homeschool Review Crew, see this product's blog entry at the Review Crew's Blog.