What Kind of Transparencies
Should I Get?
In all my years of working with colored
transparencies for struggling readers, I
have found that the more carefully engineered the plastic transparency is, the
more effective it is for the student; thus,
when I purchased my first colored transparencies (made from colored plastic
students experienced minor help but not
enough to make much of a difference.
Later, as I searched for more sophisticated reading transparencies, I purchased
some colored transparencies online that
were in a case and thus easy to carry,
which I loved. However, these were a
harder plastic and were more “filmy,” as
the kids put it. So, those were put aside.
I tried some of the very small strips
that were sent to me as a reading teacher
but found that they were detrimental
to my students’ ability to process whole
phrases and thus did not lead to any
measurable increase in fluency. I wanted
their eyes to be able to “scoop in” more
words than just the small strip allowed.
Finally, I ordered some transparencies from the National Reading Service.
I added these much more uniformly and
deeply colored transparencies to the others and sat back and observed my students. As they tried each one, within a
few days I saw that all but these newer
ones were ignored by my students. I also
have found the Irlen reading transparencies to be of very good quality and helpful for my students. They are not as dark
or as uniform as those from the National
Reading Service but are still serviceable.
Services that will test your child to
see exactly which colored transparency
would work best are available. Just go on-
line and Google “colored reading trans-
Since my goal was to eliminate the
need for these reading transparencies
addressing the biological and physiologi-
cal causes of the problem, I was willing
to pay for the more sophisticated and
engineered ones so that I could help my
students feel better about reading right
away. I knew that if I were careful to take
the “three easy steps,” this would not be a
While there obviously
is not one single
answer for reading
struggles, we can
always try an easy,
to help a child or teen
read with more ease.
While there obviously is not one single
answer for reading struggles, we can always try an easy, inexpensive method
to help a child or teen read with more
ease. The college students who were in
my classroom (doing their fieldwork in
my blue transparencies. They told me
that they found they could study much
longer when using these transparencies;
their eyes were just more relaxed. I love
unsolicited feedback like that from students of all ages. It helps me know that I
am doing something worthwhile to make
learning processes easier.
Email your short questions to Dianne at
this address: email@example.com.
Dianne Craft has a master’s degree in
learning disabilities. She speaks widely
at homeschool conventions across the
country. Her books, Brain Integration
Therapy Manual, Right Brain Phonics
Program, and her DVDs, Understanding
&;Helping;the;Struggling;Learner,;Teach-ing the Right Brain Child, Smart Kids—
Who Hate to Write, and The Biology of
Behavior have helped hundreds of families
remove learning blocks in their struggling
children at home. Visit her website, www
. diannecraft.org, for many articles on children and learning and to download her
free Daily Lesson Plans for the Struggling
Reader and Writer.
DISCLAIMER: This information is not
intended as medical advice. Everyone
is encouraged to make their own health
care decisions, with advice from qualified professionals.
1. Lucinda Willis, Ph.D., Barbara Locke, Ph.D.,
“Examining the Use of Colored Overlays with
Field Dependent Reading Disabled Children,”
Journal of Visual Literacy,;2009,;Volume;27.
2. Bazan NG, Rodriguez de Turco EB, Gordon
WC., “Pathways for the uptake and conservation of docosahexaenoic acid in photoreceptors
and synapses: biochemical and autoradiographic
studies,” Canadian Journal of Physiology and
3. B. J. Stordy, “Benefit of Docosahexaenoic Acid
supplement to dark adaptation,” Lancet, August
4. Dianne Craft, “Daily Exercises to Promote Visual Processing Skills,” Brain Integration Therapy
Manual, 2010 edition.