Friday, October 19, 2012

Crew Review: Crossbow Education - Colored Reading Rulers

I was pretty excited to see Crossbow Education's colored reading overlays up for review. The overlays are on my Amazon Wish List! ::grin:: But I have been debating whether or not to get them for Balsam Fir. Why? I've purchased similar tinted reading trackers before and, well, I'm using them, not Balsam Fir! ::wink::

These rulers come in a pack of 10 different colors! Did you know that some kids and adults struggling with reading do better when reading black text through a specific color? Or even someone who isn't struggling but experiences "eye strain" reading for longer periods of time will find a certain color allievates "tired eyes"? Finding that personalized color can be a real challenge of trial-and-error, but with Crossbow Education's Pack of 10 you can inexpensively ($16.95) try different colors to find just the right one!  

Sugar Maple, Balsam Fir and I all used these reading trackers during our review period. My original plan was to have Balsam Fir use them as he has visual tracking and convergence issues due to his SPD and struggles with reading word-by-word and line-by-line. But Sugar Maple and I like using cool bookmarks too! ::wink:: And why not? We're BIG readers at Our Side of the Mountain!

What's really handy about these rulers are the two different areas for viewing text: a narrow area for single or two line reading (depending on the size of the type) and a wider area for multiple line tracking.  All of us used the narrow side for our reading, but I like that the option is available to view more lines if wanted. And there's also a glossy side and a matte side. We tended to use the matte side. Choices are awesome!

I was pleasantly surprised at the thickness and durability of these rulers. Our first experience with tinted reading trackers from another company were flimsy and within a couple of months the tinting was scratched and chipped off and even the corners bent! Although Crossbow Education recommends storing their reading rulers in plastic baggies when not in use, we experienced no cracking of the plastic or chipping of the tint during our review! And these were used EVERY.SINGLE.DAY at home, in the van and even on soccer fields since books go everywhere with us! They fell on the grass...and tar...and in sand and traveled inside books or plopped in school bags. (I'll admit that we can be a tad bit rough on things. ::wink::) We did end up with a few scratches, but I'm totally not surprised as the rulers were put to a serious test at Our Side of the Mountain! Solid reading rulers!

I also used these for our daily reading curriculum, slipping a ruler into our Story of the World and Apologia Botany books. They were GREAT for highlighting areas of text that I wanted to focus on or have the Saplings take notes on for their journals. I'm sure CrossBox Education didn't intend for their rules to be HIGHLIGHTERS, but it worked perfectly for us! And we didn't have to mark up the text to highlight them!

And I can honestly say that they did seem to help Balsam Fir. Reading with him is quite, hmm, challenging. I haven't figured it all out, but visual tracking is related to the vestibular sensory system, and his VS is off. When he reads aloud, he rocks and wiggles like he has ants in his pants! With these tinted rulers, those movements seemed to calm down some and he was able to read smoother and easier with less corrections.

Curious what colors worked best for us? Well, Sugar Maple settled on matte blues and Balsam Fir liked matte greens (but had to try out several colors to make sure of course) and I snagged matte orange (and no I was not reading The Lorax in the first photo I took...Balsam wanted to try out orange LOL). But sometimes it depended on the LIGHT which color suited our needs best. Having 10 different colors really makes it easy to chose-and-use! 

We'll be using these for quite some time! Thumps up!

Disclaimer: Our Side of the Mountain received Crossbow Education's Eye Level Reading Rulers: Pack of 1o free as a member of the TOS Review Crew in exchange for our honest use and review. All opinions are our own. For more information, click on the highlighted links above or visit the TOS Blog Review website here to read more reviews.


  1. Those reading rulers sound really neat. Thank you for your review.

  2. Thank you for the information - these look really good!


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