Colored Overlays for Reading

I presented several workshops at the Indiana Association of Home Educators and mentioned that some people find it easier to read when they use a colored overlay. For those with Irlen Syndrome, formerly known as scotopic sensitivity syndrome, having colored lenses or overlays can help a struggling reader read more easily. For more information about symptoms, self tests, and treatment go to I am not trained in the Irlen Method, but have used colored overlays with my children to help them focus and manage printed information. A mom who attended one of my workshops decided to try a blue Heads Up reader with her son, a struggling reader. She has given her permission to share their experience here:

I was at your workshop yesterday and I was amazed at how you were speaking of my son! Almost everything you said described my 11 year old, Avery. I know he’s dyslexic but he has not been technically diagnosed. Well, to make this quick…He has trouble concentrating when he’s reading, it takes a long time and he starts daydreaming. I bought a blue Heads Up reader. I never believed in magic wands until last night. I gave it to him and said, “Here, put this on the page.” His face lit up, he exclaimed, “That’s awesome!” and he started reading a pleasure book I bought for him at the conference. He was up early this morning and read for 2 hours straight using his, as he named it, Avery Focus Helper.
Thank you for your ministry and for all of the great information you gave yesterday. I feel much more empowered to help my son reach his full potential!

Here is her follow-up one day later:

p.s. He’s still reading, even to and from church today with his little AFH.

Very exciting! I love hearing stories like this and knowing that a low-tech solution can make such a difference in a child’s life. As someone who loves to read, I am thrilled for Avery who is just beginning to discover that reading can be fun.

Easy to Make Matching Game

IMG_3488[1]Here is an idea for an easy matching game for colors and sizes using recycled materials you probably have in abundance. Start saving the plastic lids from jars – peanut butter, mayonnaise, milk and juice jugs, pop-up wipes, etc. When you have a collection of lids, take a plain file folder and arrange the lids however you like on top of the file. Trace around the lids, then remove them and color in the circles to match the lid colors. I didn’t color in the circles for the small milk jug size since most of my small lids are the same color, but you could match colors on that size as well if you have a variety in your own collection. I outlined my circles in black to provide a greater contrast to make the target stand out. Store the lids in a gallon-sized zipper bag and you have a quick and easy matching game. The larger lids are great for little hands or for those who find fine motor tasks difficult. IMG_3489[1]To make the game more durable, laminate the file folder. You’ll be able to re-use this game with your own children, plus it’s a great portable game to take with you since it’s lightweight and doesn’t take up much room. It’s an inexpensive, fun way to help kids learn and a great way to recycle those lids.