Crossbow Education specializes in materials to assist people with dyslexia and other visual stress. The Schoolhouse Review Crew had the opportunity to review the 10-pack of Eye Level Reading Rulers. One pack of 10 rulers costs $16.95.
Reading rulers are a thick clear plastic sheet which has been tinted. The rulers are about 6” wide and are designed to highlight text , aid in tracking, clarify the words so they don’t blur or dance, and reduce page glare. There is a strip of opaque plastic in the middle to create one large strip for large text and a narrower strip for narrow text. The 10-pack is their most popular product because it allows the student to pick which color works best for him. Each person is a little different, and while one person might like one color, another will prefer a different one. Also, in different light situations, someone might find different colors work better, even though he will usually settle on one color eventually as a favorite. Once a favorite color is settled on, more aids in that color can be purchased from Crossbow Education. Another feature of the reading ruler was that one side was a matte finish and the other was gloss.
Here you can see the rulers in action. The green ruler is placed with the matte side up and the purple ruler is placed with the gloss side up. You can see the label in the middle as well as the two sizes of colored strips.
The rulers came in a plastic sleeve with instructions to help pick which color to use. It was pretty easy to select a piece of text, lay the rulers out in the suggested order and then allow my children to choose which works for them.
I don’t have any children with diagnosed tracking, processing, or other reading difficulties but Pumpkin Pie has struggled more than my other kids to learn to read. I believe this is partly due to her love of being read to and her fear that if she learns to read people won’t read to her anymore. She also has said learning to read is hard. This wasn’t so much the case with my other two older kids. I had started considering taking her to a developmental optometrist to see if she was tracking correctly, but hadn’t had a chance. As a result, I thought I would give these a try for her.
Our initial experience was excellent. I wrote the following on the first day: I had Pumpkin Pie go through the rulers and find the one that she liked best. At first she liked yellow best and then she eventually settled on pink. She said she found the matte side to be less distracting because the gloss side had the words printed on it. I noticed that she had an easier time tracking the words using the ruler. It is hard to tell if this was due to the ruler color or because I told her she needed to hold the ruler and move it down the page. Either way, the heavy blue line at the edge of the ruler helped her stay in the line that she was on except for one instance where she read the word “in” and the sentence above had an “in” almost directly above it. She glanced away and then began combining the two sentences. Considering she is 6, this is pretty normal! Usually she will get through 1 page in the McGuffey reader and be done. Today she let me do a review lesson, a lesson she did a few days ago and a new lesson. She did very well and seemed to have less trouble with the b/d switching and confusion than usual. She still had a few struggles when she thought about it, but overall did much better. She was very excited to use the ruler and asked if we could keep it with her materials so she could continue using it. She also noticed that some of the rulers made the words less clear for her.
Over time I didn’t notice as much of a difference as the first day. Over the next couple of weeks, she skipped around and just picked a color. She didn’t want to stick with one color and I began to wonder if the color aspect really mattered. She insists on having one during scripture reading and does use the little blue line to help her track the words. Most days she tends to grab the purple or pink or aqua. I think she likes those colors more than anything. One way or another though, they are helping her gain some independence with tracking and focusing on what she is reading.
Tiger also tried out the rulers. He settled on yellow and has stuck with yellow each time he read scriptures with us. He said that for him the purple “made the letters a mess and while it emphasized the letters it emphasized the wrong way.” I am not sure what that means, but he really liked the yellow one. He said it made the letters brighter, and clearer and made it easier to read faster. He tried reading a few pages with the yellow ruler and then tried a page without the ruler. He said his brain had gotten used to the ruler so taking it away made it harder to read the page. He also said he has no problem reading without the ruler but with the ruler it is easier.
While my children enjoyed them, I found the rulers to be distracting or disturbing to read through. I don’t think it has anything to do with the screens though- I am just very sensitive to films, screens, and lenses in front of what I am trying to see. I can’t handle 3D glasses, colored sunglasses, or tinted funny colors glass at all.
I caught a glimpse of the benefit of these rulers and can definitely see how they would be helpful to someone with an acute eye coordination or tracking problem. Pumpkin Pie has started reading with more ease in the past few weeks without the rulers. I don’t think the rulers helped her as much as our recent change in reading curriculum and a little maturation time, but I also don’t think they have hurt. They have been fun and encouraged her to want to read more. I know that color therapy is a legitimate tool to help people focus and see clearer so I believe that these rulers would be helpful to those who really need them as well as those who just need some tracking help.
Be sure to read about how my other crew members used Reading Rulers by clicking below.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.