Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Crossbow Education (Schoolhouse Crew Review)


Crossbow Education specializes in tools to help children with Dyslexia or Visual Stress. Some of their most popular products are colored overlays to make reading easier. For many children, using colored overlays to change the background color for a portion of text will reduce the amount of visual stress and allow them to read more easily. Crossbow offers these overlays in ten different colors so that the student can pick which shade works best for them.

I have heard about using colored overlays before, and I found the informative articles on the Crossbow website to be very interesting. According to the information here, students suffering from visual stress may fatigue quickly when working with text, skip words or lines when reading, seem to have more difficulty after reading for about 10 minutes, frequently rub their eyes, change body position to move closer or father from the page, read slowly, or have difficulty absorbing information.

I wasn't sure that those symptoms fit Brennan, but he read the description online and uh-huh'd about some of them. I figured it couldn't hurt to try the visual overlays to see if they made reading easier or more enjoyable for him.

We received a package of ten Eye Level Reading Rulers. I was surprised at how quickly Brennan found a few favorite colors and how quickly he handed some to Lauren to use because they just didn't look good at all for him. The rulers are small enough to handle easily, but large enough to cover an entire section of text. Brennan didn't mind using them, but I don't think that they made a noticeable enough difference that he has continued to use them.

Lauren, on the other hand, uses them often. I'm not sure if the colors make any difference for her or if she just likes having the line on the ruler to help keep her place while she's reading. Many younger readers do better when they use something to help them keep track of their place on the page.

The ten pack of Reading Rulers costs $16.95. If you find that your child does well with a particular color, you can order packages of that specific color to continue using. Crossbow Education also offers full page colored overlays, programs for colored overlays while working on a computer, and a wide variety of educational activities.

Disclaimer: I received a set of Reading Rulers as a member of the 2012 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.


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