How to Make Color Overlays for Struggling Readers - FREE DIY

Posted by Erica Warren on

Many struggling readers have difficulties tracking text across and down the page. Their eyes get lost in a maze of words and keeping their place takes up most of their attention - leaving little stamina for decoding and comprehension.
Did you know that there is a simple and fun fix for this problem?  You can make your own color overlays!

Make your own bookmarks

What Are Color Overlays?

Colored overlays are plastic sheets that allow students to change the background color of the text.  This can make the stark contrast of black text on white paper less intense, and many kids enjoy the colors. 
Most importantly, by placing the line of text that is being read at the bottom of the plastic lens, it can be a wonderful way for students to keep their place while reading.

Would You Like to Create Your Own Color Overlays?

helps kids with tracking
You can make your own overlays by using transparent, colored report covers, dividers, or overhead projector film. 
They can be used as whole sheets, but I prefer to cut strips so that it can help with tracking.

How Can I Make My Own?
Tracking help
  1. Buy a variety of colorful report covers, dividers or overhead projector film.  Make sure that they are transparent.  You can find these at just about any office supply store.
  2. Everyone is different. Let your students try out the different colors and see which one they like the best.
  3. Slice a variety of different sizes too!
  4. Step four (optional): Place a plain sticker on the end of the overlay strip so that students can write their name on it. Students can also pick out a sticker of an image too.
  5. Step five (optional): For those students that get overwhelmed by too many words on a page, you can place washi tape around the edge of the overlay to block out competing lines of text.
At the end of the activity, even if a few of your students don’t find color overlays helpful, they will still have a fun and useful book mark!
visual processing exercises

What are Some Other Ways to Improve Tracking and Visual Processing?

If you would like to remediate reading difficulties as well as the weaknesses in visual processing that causes tracking problems.  Check out my Visual Processing Series, my Reversing Reversals Series as well as my remedial reading games and handouts! You can even get a free samples!!
Cheers, Dr. Erica Warren

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.

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