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Optometrists Say Colored Filter Overlays Can Help Your Child Read Better

Aug 17, 2007
Does your child struggle to read or try to avoid reading altogether?

If your child makes errors like skipping lines, not seeing punctuation, knowing a word on one page and not another, or has trouble comprehending, here is some information that may turn things around very quickly.

As a reading specialist for over 30 years, I can tell you with certainty, that your child's reading errors are not their fault.

Many children see the page in a distorted way, preventing them from becoming excellent readers. Sometimes, a condition known as contrast sensitivity or perceptual distortion goes undetected, and causes your child to see the page in an unusual way.

Reading Journal Studies reveal that placing colored filter overlays, or plastic tinted overlays, over the printed page, can raise their reading scores by more than a year and half in just one week!

In 1981, the concept of using color to eliminate or reduce perceptual problems began as a federal research project and more than 50 studies since then have documented changes in fluency, speed, accuracy and comprehension when a colored filter overlay is placed over the printed page.

These studies document actual brain chemistry and biochemical changes. I have used colored filter overlays with students since the late 1970's, and for some children, they solve reading problems immediately.

Putting a colored overlay on a printed page can help your child: improve reading speed, raise reading grades quickly, improve comprehension, correct word and letter reversals, read for longer periods of time, read smoothly from line to line and raise self-esteem.

According to the Reading Teacher Journal,"Using colored overlays help eliminate (light) wave-lengths before they reach the retina and the brain. As a result, visual information may be more effectively analyzed."

The Journal of Reading Disabilities said that, "After one week, those that received the correct colored transparencies gained an average of 6.6 months in reading accuracy and 19.35 months in reading comprehension."

An article in the New York Times said, "In experimenting with colored filters, a prominent university researcher found that reading through specific filters made many children read better."

Developmental optometrists often use colored filter overlays in their office, as part of vision therapy exercises to strengthen the entire visual system. Placing a filter on top of the printed page can improve comprehension simply because the way that the child sees the page changes immediately. Their perceptual distortion goes away.

While colored filter overlays will not solve every reading problem, I encourage you to listen to your child read. Pay close attention, and ask exactly how reading makes them feel. If your child tells you he does not like to read, there is a reason and you will want to find out more.

Have your child take the free Eye-Q Reading Inventory at the howtolearn site to find out exactly how your child sees the printed page and whether colored filter overlays can improve your child's reading ability.
About the Author
Pat Wyman is the best selling author of Learning vs Testing and known as America's Most Trusted Learning Expert. Find out more about colored filter overlays at http://www.howtolearn.com/filters.html
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