colored overlaysAs a reading specialist, I’ve been using colored overlays for nearly 30 years because they work!


Colored overlays are transparent sheets of plastic in different colors which allow people with certain reading challenges like dyslexia, and perceptual disorders to see the print more clearly.

When the light hits the retina of the eye, some people see words blur, aren’t able to track from line to line clearly, miss the punctuation or have problems with comprehension.

Actually, this is not their fault.  The way they see the printed page is not the same way they are supposed to.

Thus, placing colored overlays over the printed page, covering the whole page, actually clears up the print and makes reading easier and raising reading scores.

The Journal of Learning Disabilities said, “After one week, those-that received the correct colored overlays (transparencies)-gained an Average of 6.6 months in reading accuracy and 19.35 months in reading comprehension.”

The Reading Teacher Journal said, “Using colored overlays help eliminate (light) wave-lengths before they reach the retina and the brain.

As a result, visual information may be more effectively analyzed.”

The American Optometric Association says that visual symptoms and distortion may be relieved by using colored overlays.

Additional research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, v2 n3 p498-515 Jul-Sep 2008, showed that ASD children who used colored overlays increased their reading speed.

Every time I’ve worked with children or adults who have reading problems, one of the first things I try with them is colored overlays.

Next, I make sure they take the Eye-Q Reading Inventory to determine how they feel when they read, whether they get tired easily, have low comprehension and what the printed page looks like to them.

Finally, I often refer children and adults to a developmental optometrist (found at and to determine whether they need specific visual exercises to improve their eyesight and reading abilities.

So, whether you are a child or adult, give colored overlays a try and notice what happens when you read.  I use them over my computer screen as well.

When you purchase colored overlays, be sure to get the sturdy thick types because most you find on the market are thin and break easily.  You can find thick, sturdy colored overlays here.

About the author:

Pat Wyman is America’s Most Trusted Learning Expert, a reading specialist, best-selling author and university instructor.

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