Reading with COLOR---What a Difference It Can Make!

It is an unfortunate statistic that as many as 80% of U.S. students with learning disabilities (LD) have problems with reading.  A number of these children experience such reading problems because of dyslexia, convergence insufficiency, or other vision-related reading issues.  Others are challenged with attention deficits (AD/HD), autism, low vision, stroke recovery issues or TBI issues that many times will negatively impact reading success.
 
If you notice your child or your student is struggling to read, there are a few strategies that can be implemented to help to improve reading success.  Interestingly enough, the strategies to follow here involve the use of COLOR, which can improve the connections made in the brain when one is attempting to read.  Consider one or more of these tips:

COLOR Strategies for More Reading Success
 

    1.  Colored Paper:  When reading printed media such as worksheets, etc., consider copying the documents on colored paper instead of on traditional white copy paper.  A ream of several different colors can be purchased at your local office supply store.  Each week, try a different color of paper until the “optimum” color is discovered; that is, the color that provides the most eye comfort and focus, allowing the reader to better attend to the text and more successfully comprehend the printed material.
         REASON:   White page backgrounds can cause “visual stress” for some readers.  As a result, these readers often struggle with focusing which affects attention and comprehension.  These visually- stressed readers can also experience fatigue much sooner, and their retention of what is read is often significantly impacted.
 
    2.  Colored Overlays:  Place a colored yet transparent plastic sheet over a page of text to be read.  These can be purchased at some office or art supply stores.  Consider trying a variety of different colored sheets, one color at a time with a resting interval between each color trial.  There is a good possibility that one particular color may promote more focus and comfort for the reader than other colors. Try pastels as well as dark and brighter colors.  Introducing the best or “right” color can positively affect the appearance of printed text for a reader with symptoms of dyslexia or other reading challenge.  The reader may report that the letters stopped “moving out”, “waving out” or “shadowing” on the page. (Please see REASON above here.)
 
    3.  Reading Focus Cards: These sensory-appealing tools combine the features of the 2 options above AND also focus the eye in one directed area.  The Reading Focus Cards are able to isolate 1 or 2 lines of text on a page and block more surrounding text than any other tool available.  In addition, these tools allow the reader to change white page backgrounds with a selected colored filter (included with each tool). 

If you try the strategies described above here, and the reading problems persist, consider visiting a developmental optometrist.  This medical professional can evaluate, diagnose and treat children and adults with vision-related reading challenges.  To locate this specialized optometrist, please visit the website for the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (Please see Resources to follow here).  There you will find a “Locate a Doctor” tool in the upper right hand corner of each of the web pages on the site.  This will enable you to locate a developmental optometrist in your area.

Resources:     
 
Facts and Statistics on Learning Disabilities and Literacy---Publication with statistics and other information related to LD and literacy issues.
http://www.floridatechnet.org/bridges/factsandstats.pdf
 
College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) Website---Information about vision-related reading challenges from the College of Optometrists in Vision Development.  Site includes an online 
tool to “Locate a Doctor” in a specific geographical area.
http://covd.org/

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