3 Best Tips to Use Colored Overlays to Improve Reading

by Veronica Mason on December 1, 2013

Colored overlays have been used by educators and parents since the 1970’s to help students improve their reading and this article contains the 3 best tips to use colored overlays to improve reading.

Interestingly, their results have been hotly debated by researchers and educators alike. The key to success, though, is proper diagnostics and usage.

colored overlays      Learning about which symptoms can be helped by colored overlays, such as autism and ADHD, and how to implement the colored overlays in your classroom and at home can potentially bring the joy of reading to even your most struggling student.

What are the Symptoms that the 3 Best Tips to Use Colored Overlays to Improve Reading Improve?

Students who struggle with visual-perceptual disorders are believed to have trouble seeing the letters clearly reading black ink on white paper. The exact causes and manifestations of the disorder are still being widely researched.

Essentially, the problem can produce symptoms of text distortion, moving or shaking text, straight lines looking wavy, poor depth perception, eye strain, severe headaches, and sensitivity to particular types of light. This symptoms obviously inhibit reading, since the text is difficult to make out, and sustained reading becomes painful.

colored overlays         Various studies have been performed to prove the effectiveness of colored overlays for students with reading difficulties. Some of these studies have been refuted based on poor performance, but others have shown a significant increase in reading test scores and comprehension for students that might have certain reading challenges.

The important point, though, is to be wary in assuming every struggling reader will be aided by the overlays—a proper diagnosis by a developmental optometrist is the first step to determine the underlying cause of the reading challenges. they are specifically intended for readers with the sensitivity syndrome. While some readers with dyslexia or other reading disorders may see some improvement when using the overlays, it is not a proven result.

Here are the 3 best tips to use colored overlays to improve reading and to assist some struggling readers with reading clarity and comprehension.

1.     Check for overall vision problems first.

Many problems plaguing readers might be solved with a developmental vision screening and exam.

This will rule out problems such as vision accommodation, binocular vision, and problems with ocular motor function. These problems will only continue plaguing the reader while using the overlays, increasing frustration and decreasing the overlays’ efficacy. If there is no sign of problems from these exams, or if difficulties persist with corrections, proceed to finding the right color of overlay for your reader.

Visit COVD.org and OEPF.org to find an optometrist who can perform a regular eye exam as well as a vision related eye exam.

2.   Find the right color.

colored overlays       Colored overlays will reduce the contrast between the white page and black ink, reducing the strain on the reader’s eyes. While there are “official” tests you can perform to assign the correct color, basic trial and error will work well enough simply by asking your child which color “feels the best.”

With the right color, words should stop shaking and the lines will no longer look wavy to the student. However, because the syndrome also includes symptoms of light sensitivity, different types of lighting (fluorescent, natural, etc.) could affect the correct color choice.

3.  Continue with proper, individualized reading instruction

The color overlays themselves do not create good readers—they create conditions that clear up the print on a page and reduce visual stress so that students can read the words on the page, allowing them to develop good reading habits and skills.

The overlays can help students focus more on groups of words and the connections between them, instead of focusing on trying to make out individual letters and words. Using overlays will potentially allow teachers to work on comprehension and more advanced reading skills with students.

The most important point, though, is to not let the overlays do the teaching—the use of overlays must be followed up with individualized, remedial teaching to help the reader regain confidence and an appropriate skill level. Otherwise, only an immediate, increased effect will be realized, followed by a plateau.

Colored overlays may very well be the doorway to a love of reading for some hesitant readers. However, they do not guarantee success for everyone. In order to garner the best results from colored overlays, be careful in diagnosing the reading problem, choose the correct color for each individual, and continue faithfully in reading instruction. Using these tips, you and your readers have the hope of opening a book without frustration and reading a story for the fun of it.

Veronica Mason uses her passion for education to write articles and help students find the best learning experience. She enjoys learning about innovations in education, particularly online classes. Veronica also loves helping students find the right education experience, whether at a Calgary college or a southern university and is an expert in how to use colored overlays.

More articles on colored overlays

colored overlays $29.97 for set of 5 with FREE Eye-Q Reading Inventory

You will be taken to our sister site, HowtoLearn.com for this purchase. HowtoLearn.com has been online since 1996 and owned by college Professor and best-selling author, Pat Wyman and The Center for New Discoveries in Learning, Inc.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

© 2011 The Center For New Discoveries In Learning, Inc. 4535 W. Sahara Ave. Suite 200, Las Vegas, NV 89102
This site contains a registered trademark from the USPTO