By Jennifer Bolton
I’m a mother of two sons who both have tracking issues with reading. One son also suffers from severe dyslexia. Both sons always lose their spots when reading. When children first learn to read they put their finger on the words and follow along. As the text gets smaller, this is more difficult to do and most children find it unnecessary. With tracking issues, the eye skips around and with dyslexia, the words ‘move’. Both my sons also have Tourette’s syndrome, which makes their heads jerk. Finding their spots again and again was beyond frustrating.
Someone gave me The Reading Focus Cards to see if they might help. A reading and study tool, the cards help people challenged with tracking and focusing. Both of my sons liked choosing the colours they found most helpful. One of the boys preferred the high contrast of yellow cards. The other was more comfortable with the blue. This helped them ease the strain on their eyes.
Since my children are six years apart in age, the books they read have different sized texts. The cards come in different sizes to fit the text you are reading. The card blocks out all surrounding text as you move it across the page. One son was able to adjust the card to encompass an entire line of text at a time, allowing him increased fluency. My son with dyslexia found adjusting it to only show two or three words at a time most helpful.
Both children have autism and ADHD so concentration is difficult. The Reading Focus Card helps them focus when reading. The Focus Cards block out the surrounding distractions. Their whole reading experience becomes less overwhelming.
The cards offer a tactile surface so you can work by feel too. One side is smooth and the other textured. My tactile seeker liked the rough side under his fingers. My tactile avoider enjoyed the smooth side. Both were less likely to fidget because their hands had something to do. They enjoyed holding the card and sliding it down the page. It gave reading a multi-sensory approach. Although it does not stop legs swinging under the table!
The Reading Focus Card helped in another way I did not expect. One son has a lazy eye. The Cards helped train his eye to center on the page. It made it easier for him to read and follow along when others were reading aloud. My sons also have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. (This connective tissue disorder lets joints bend backwards.) The cards help hold the page down. This provided a steady surface for their fingers and prevents pushing them backwards. This lessens their pain.
Our personal experience with the cards was positive. My youngest son has learned to read using them. My eldest son still finds them helpful with his high school text books filled with columns of words. I highly recommend The Reading Focus Cards for anyone struggling with focus issues when reading.
Jennifer Bolton, mom to two wonderful adult ability-abled sons who still enjoy regular trips to the library. “A ‘disability’ is just an ‘ability’ in ‘disguise.” ~Quote by youngest son at age 7.