Recently, we were asked to try out Crossbow Education's Eye Level Reading Rulers as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew and I was very excited because this is the sort of product that you see and want to try, but just aren't sure if the investment will be worth it, so you often skip it. I wanted to be the first to tell you that if you have a struggling or early reader, these bookmarks are top notch and worth every penny.
At $16.95 for a pack of ten rulers (you can purchase one of each color, two each of the five most popular colors, or ten of your favorite color), their quality and usefulness makes them worth the price. What you receive in the mail (if you purchase one of each color, which is what we got) are ten very sturdy plastic and opaque overlay page-width sized ruler bookmarks of varying colors. The overlay is narrower on one side to allow for tracking of one line of text at a time and wider on the other side to allow your reader to view more of the complete reading field at once.
By ordering the variety pack initially, you will be able to choose which color works best for your child. Every person is different. Once you have chosen your child's most helpful color you can order more of just that color.
Ladybug, age 8, felt that the yellow was her best color, while Cowboy preferred the blue. The Reading Ruler's overlay is intended to reduce glare, "dancing" of letters and characters, blurring of text, and other potential reading difficulties for anyone, not just early readers and readers with identified learning disabilities. Neither Ladybug nor Cowboy has been identified as having a learning disability, though my mother, a certified Reading Specialist for over thirty years, has noted that Ladybug seems to struggle a bit with focus and seems to suffer from some visual stress which hinders her reading progress (Ladybug has the skills she needs, she just moves slowly).
My mom worked with the kids during the review period to determine whether the bookmarks we were given might help either Cowboy or Ladybug and discovered that while Cowboy zooms ahead just fine without the bookmark (he reads quickly, but stops at words he doesn't know for sure and asks, or just skips them altogether...this isn't a problem the bookmarks address), Ladybug's reading stress was visibly reduced and her accomplishments (reading speed and ability to use her word attack skills) were improved greatly.
My mom noted that Ladybug preferred to use the side of the bookmark with the wider overlay window that allows the reader to see beyond one line of text at a time. By highlighting the area of text she was to read, the bookmark helped her focus her attention on those words, yet also see ahead to where the end punctuation for a particular line was, which helped with her reading comprehension and reading expression.
Ladybug said that the yellow color of the bookmark made the words "jump off the page" for her, and she felt they were more in focus. We have had her eyes examined and she does not have any notable visual issues, but even so, altering the color of the page and highlighting the text seemed to work very well for her. She went from struggling to finish one chapter book a week (in spite of good decoding skills) to reading one (eagerly and confidently) in a day AND writing about it in her Reading Response Journal. Now that is a result worth $16.95!
Having been a Reading Specialist for so long, my mom has used several similar products that cover this issue of text color, from full page overlays to a different sort of bookmark. She says that the bookmarks by Crossbow Education are by far the finest she has seen, and if she was still teaching in the classroom, she'd order enough for every child. She felt that the text highlighting alone, and being given the option to highlight one line or several, was enough to sell her on the product, but the durability and obvious quality of the bookmarks is a real plus, too. They are very sturdy and will function as not only a bookmark, but as a valued learning tool for years (and children) to come.
If you'd like to learn more about these bookmarks, check out Crossbow's website. You can also see what others on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about this product by checking out the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.
Disclaimer: I received a package of Crossbow Education's Reading Ruler Bookmarks for the purposes of reviewing this product. All opinions are my own (and my family's, as expressed to me). No other compensation was received.