I'd like to start by saying that I do not make any money from the increased sales of colored overlays and I don't' care who you potentially buy them from... I have been a teacher for 20 years and I have a hard time getting many of my co-teachers to believe in the benefit of trying covered overlays with their struggling readers. (But, I'd like to thank my co-teacher, Sam, for posting this article on my FB page).
Why do I believe in them? I did not read for pleasure until I was 19 years old -- I was the kid who had a book open, but wasn't really reading; I was the one who took as long as possible looking through the book shelf so that I didn't have to read; I was the one who went to the nurse during reading because I had a headache (sometimes I did); I was the one who struggled with spelling even though I studied a lot; I was one who was given reading glasses that didn't help any; I was the one who missed discovering the love of reading.
For those of you who have decided that 2% of students isn't a big enough percentage to bother and try covered overlays, I'm disappointed that you would be willing to leave students like me behind. I totally agree that there is some degree of novelty and the placebo effect with many students -- more of my students use them for a few days/weeks/months rather than use them long term. When that is the case, they turn their covered overlays back in and it doesn't cost the district a dime. However, a few of my student have kept them for years (I cut them in half -- the total cost is $5). I have had parents thank me for introducing them to their child -- I've even had a parent who went out and bought them for himself.
Once I got my covered overlay in 1990 (which, at the time, was a 1/8" piece of polarized, hard plastic), I was amazed to see the page like the rest of you see it; I was able to retrain my eyes to read correctly (without regressions and rereading lines); I stopped getting headaches from reading; I learned to dim the computer screen so that I didn't get eye fatigue and headaches; and, most importantly, I started reading for pleasure -- all the time!
Isn't that what it's all about? Once we get our kids reading for pleasure, we've won the battle -- we've made them life-long readers and learners, regardless of what their test scores are.
So, please... don't be turned off that covered overlays will ONLY help 2% of your students -- be thrilled that you have the opportunity to make a difference their lives!
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