Review Crew: Crossbow Education Reading Rulers

PhotobucketCrossbow Education is a family-run company specializing in educational supplies and teaching aids for students with various learning challenges.  Many of their products are designed for dyslexic students or those who suffer from visual stress.

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We had a chance to review their Duo Reading Rulers 10 Color 10 Pack.  This package contains 10 different colored reading rulers and retails for $16.95.

What is it?
This product is designed for students of any age who have difficulty reading due to dyslexia or visual stress.  Each ruler is 6 inches in length, containing two transparent plastic windows separated by opaque plastic.  The smaller window is for highlighting and underlining one sentence of text at a time.  This helps students keep their place as they read.  The second, larger transparent window highlights one paragraph of text at a time. 

Ten color choices are available, allowing students to choose the color that works best for them.
Students can choose from the colors yellow, celery, grass, jade, aqua, sky, purple, magenta, pink, and orange.

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How did we use this product?
My children have not been diagnosed with any learning disabilities or reading challenges.  However, Curly often loses her place while reading.  I have noticed her jumping ahead, missing letter sounds in words, or skipping entire words as she reads.  She seems to skim over the sentences while she reads and she’s even paraphrased entire sentences rather than reading them word-for-word.  Curly also tends to ignore all punctuation and she reads her paragraphs without pausing after sentences.  She might be able to read quickly in her head, but when she reads aloud, she’s missing quite a bit.

While Curly is a strong reader, she needs to slow down when she reads aloud so that she reads each word and pauses at punctuation.  I’ve tried to help her by placing my finger under each word as she reads.  This has not helped her slow down.  Sometimes she ignores my finger and accidentally skips lines in her reading.  I’ve also encouraged her to use her own finger to help her track the words.  This has helped her slow down her reading but she still tends to skip over entire words as she reads aloud.

When we received the reading rulers I pulled out all the colors during reading time.  I let Curly choose which ruler to try first.  She chose pink!  Why am I not surprised?  I held the ruler for her as she read aloud from her reader.  I noticed an immediate improvement.  She was able to focus on each word and she was pausing after punctuation.

Each day we tried one or two colors of the reading rulers to see which colors Curly preferred.  The pink and celery colors quickly emerged as her two favorites.  With these colors, she was no longer skipping words, phrases, or entire lines in her reading.  After she was used to using the rulers, I let her be the one to move the ruler down line by line as she read to me.  The pink ruler quickly disappeared into her bedroom as the bookmark for the book she was reading independently.  She told me that she wanted to use it to help her read on her own!

It was interesting to see Curly’s color preferences as she preferred the lighter-colored rulers of pink and celery with sky and orange being her second favorites.  When we tried out some of the darker colors like jade, Curly had more difficulty reading and seemed distracted by the dark shades.

I even tried out the rulers with Tiger as he has just started reading simple sentences.  I used them in his reader and he found them helpful in keeping his place.  He preferred the orange and yellow rulers for his reading time.

What didn’t we like?
These rulers were very beneficial during reading time.  There was nothing we disliked about them.  It was apparent that my children had certain color preferences and that a few of the colors did not work well for them.  I found a few of the colors actually hindered their reading, so we simply put those colors aside and choose only the colors that improved their reading skills and helped them focus.

What did we like?
These rulers were a fun, colorful way to slow Curly’s reading down and help her read each word.  When using the rulers, Curly no longer skipped words or phrases.  They drastically improved her ability to keep her spot while reading.  Curly made a lot of progress in reading word-for-word and making note of punctuation while she read.

Curly loved the rulers because there were so many color choices.  She wanted to use the rulers during our read aloud time and in her independent reading time.  She quickly noticed that certain colors helped her track words easier while other colors made her reading more difficult.  She was happy to choose the colors that were helping her and she asked to use them in all of our reading times.

What did we think overall?
My children might not have a specific disability or reading challenge, but I noticed a marked improvement in their reading and visual tracking skills when using the rulers.  I felt they greatly helped my children focus on one line at a time and prevented them from skipping ahead while reading.

I found this product to be hugely helpful as my children are learning to read.  Curly even prefers to read her independent reading with the help of her rulers.  We will keep using this rulers during both read aloud time and in Curly’s independent reading.  And we’ll even order more of the kids favorite color rulers as we need them.

I would recommend this product for parents who have children with learning difficulties such as dyslexia.  But I would go further and recommend these rulers for any child who is learning to read.  They have helped my children during reading time and improved their tracking skills, allowing them to keep their place in the books they are reading. 

Check out other reviews of this product on the Crew blog!

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Disclaimer:  I received this product at no cost to me in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are mine.

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