See-N-Read® Reading Tools (U.S. Patent No. 7,954,444) were designed and developed
by Sylvia R. Smith, Ed.D. as practical interventions for struggling readers to support the essential visual and cognitive
skills required for readers to more effectively receive,
process and remember information. Dr. Smith’s
conclusions are grounded in research in the areas
of learning theory, reading, visual discrimination,
ophthalmology and psychology and have been endorsed by researchers and practitioners in neuropsychology, psychology and learning.
The act of reading is a complex visual and cognitive
task that requires the seamless integration of specific
receiving, processing and memory skills. Poor integration
of these skills negatively impacts reading fluency (the capacity to read text accurately and quickly)
and reading comprehension. See-N-Read® tools are an assistive reading technology that enhances the efficient integration of
receiving, processing and memory skills and therefore provides effective interventions for struggling readers.
See-N-Read® Reading Tools provide an assistive reading technology solution that improves readers’ fluency and comprehension by keeping their eyes focused on
the line they are reading and filtering out surrounding
distractions on the page. This controlled visibility
enhances reading concentration and helps readers to
more effectively track the text being read. Lack of
controlled visibility results in such symptoms as
word and line-skipping, pattern glare and letter reversal
or switching (e.g., dyslexia).
An important factor in becoming a fluent and comprehensive
reader is the ability to control one’s field
of vision while reading. A critical component of this
visual control involves efficient mental processing
of “chunks” (five to nine units) of text
as the reader's eyes move left-to-right on a page. See-N-Read® enables readers to easily “chunk” text
as they read through the clear reading window (referred
to as the ReadBar™). The ReadBar™ helps
a reader to concentrate his/her field of vision and smoothly
track left-to-right as each line is read.
The clear ReadBar™ is surrounded by a non-glare, tinted
transparent area that allows visibility of upcoming information, enabling the reader to stay focused on the proper line of text while permitting peripheral vision to simultaneously track ahead to the next line. This feature
allows readers an efficient and smooth transition
from line to line, enabling continued ‘chunking’
as line changes occur. These smooth line-to-line transitions
improve reading fluency and enable users to “read within
the context”, thus improving reading comprehension. In addition, the transparent shaded area above the clear ReadBar™ enables rereading of prior information without moving the See-N-Read®, helping the reader to keep his/her place (a common issue when attempting re-reading).
The color of See-N-Read's transparent shaded areas is the result of research in ophthalmology that indicates this color is the least distracting for the most people.
Reader Survey Results: See-N-Read® reading tool research results show that 96% of readers
liked using the tool and that 91% of readers felt
that it helps them focus and concentrate because they
did not lose their place on the page.
Reading involves the identification and localization
of three key elements:
1.) visual reference points for the lines involved
in letter construction,
2.) memory of what is seen, followed by
3.) the association of meaning and language (Fowler,
Smooth eye movement is essential for becoming a successful
reader. The control of saccades (a rapid movement of the eye as it changes focus while moving
from one point to another; for example, while reading),
smooth pursuit, fixation and convergence (a coming
together from different directions) all play an important
part in producing a stable image of the word on the
page and enable smooth tracking of the eyes along
a line of print. (Robinson 1981). Thus, the accurate
control of both involuntary (jump) eye movements and
smooth (continuous) eye movements are necessary for
reading (Fowler, 2000).
The brain takes in and interprets information (words)
at the moment when the reader’s eyes fixate
on a word rather than during a saccadic movement.
Uncontrolled, high amplitude/high frequency involuntary
eye movements, or ‘overactive saccades’,
appear to be a causal factor in word- and line-skipping.
The understanding of the meaning of text initially
relies on the brain's pattern recognition process.
If a reader's eyes are erratically jumping from place
to place on the page due to overactive saccades, three
things can negatively impact cognitive processing:
1. the eyes may fixate on the wrong word(s), 2. the
pattern of words is disrupted, and 3. the peripheral
vision is unable to effectively predict upcoming text.
In effect, the text becomes meaningless, thus reducing
or eliminating both fluency and comprehension.
|There are four
issues that can impact the visual process when
1. Pattern Glare. Refers to the illusions of color,
shape and/or motion that a person may experience
as part of their visual perception (readers say
that “words appear to move on the page”).
These symptoms can impact the ability to cope
with black lines on white backgrounds (e.g., text
on white paper). Sufferers have a range of symptoms
including losing their place, headache, eyestrain
and eye fatigue. Sufferers can be extremely sensitive
and can experience great discomfort, thus reducing
willingness to read.
2. Eye Dominance. Unstable eye dominance may cause
loss of place (e.g., word- and line-skipping).
Cross dominance may be a factor in mixing up letters
(saw vs was) and letter reversals (e.g., dyslexia).
3. Visual Field and Peripheral Awareness. The
peripheral vision surrounding the point of the
eye’s fixation impacts how the reader integrates
upcoming information with his/her central vision.
In skilled readers, approximately 90% of saccades
move the eye forward, with the remaining 10% moving
the eye backward in the text (regression) either
to resolve comprehension difficulty or resolve
errors (Gaskell, M. and Altman, G., 2007, p. 327).
The implication is that less skilled readers may
spend an even greater percentage of time on regression,
slowing them down and/or disrupting pattern recognition;
i.e., reducing fluency and comprehension.
4. Visual Centering. Relating where the reader
is in his/her visual space on the page with other
objects. Smooth left to right eye movement and
line transitions are enabled by efficient visual
Further support for the integration of receiving,
processing and remembering information gleaned
from the written word or the “amount of
information” received by the short-term
memory is cited in the research by Dr. George
A. Miller of Princeton University. In 1956, he
published an article in “The Psychological
Review” entitled, The Magical Number Seven,
Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity
for Processing Information. The focus of this
article was exploration of the optimal “amount
of information” that short-term memory could
receive and effectively process at one time.
After analyzing a variety of experiments on the
capacity of people to absorb information, Dr.
Miller found that the “amount of information”
or “variance” humans most successfully
process is “seven, plus or minus two”
or in other words, five to nine units, or “chunks,”
of information at one time (Miller, 1956).
Therefore the length of the ReadBar™ in
the See-N-Read® Reading Tool is based on
Dr. Miller’s “seven, plus or minus
two” findings in order to maximize a reader’s
visual and cognitive processing.
The color (a blue/gray/mauve) and non-glare design
elements of the See-N-Read® reading tool are based on research in the fields
of Reading, Dyslexia, Visual and Cognitive Processing,
and ophthalmology. Fowler, 2000, Iovino, Fletcher,
Breitmeyer & Foorman, 1998; Wilkins, 1996
research discovered that individuals in their
studies who were sensitive to glare or print against
a light background when reading, more often chose
a blue/mauve (end of the color spectrum) overlay
to help them as they read. “Blue not only
appears to reduce glare, but also the apparent
motion of print.” (Fowler, 2000, Iovino,
Fletcher, Breitmeyer & Foorman, 1998; Wilkins,
The findings of Fowler, Iovino, Fletcher, Breitmeyer
& Foorman in 1998 were grounded in A.J Wilkins
and I. Nimmo-Smith study conducted in 1984, on
the reduction of eyestrain when reading. In their
study they reported that “Some children
and adults with or without reading problems complain
of glare of the black print against the white
background. Basically, the background appears
to interfere with the print. They may see patterns
in the gaps between lines and words, which can
be distracting, can cause headache and migraines
(sic). (Wilkins & Nimmo-Smith 1984)”
The See-N-Read® Reading Tool helps improve fluency, comprehension,
reading rate and accuracy by directly supporting the
visual brain pathways (cortical brain center) in three
key areas. See-N-Read® helps readers:
1. Gain control of the “field of vision”
(a basic requirement for reading)
2. Smoothly and efficiently track left to right (an
essential skill for fluency in reading)
3. Effectively use peripheral vision while reading
interpret contextual cues – improve inference
• Better predict content as
they read – improve comprehension skills
• Re-read content for clarity without losing
their place – improve regression skills
When readers improve reading fluency and learn how to increase reading comprehension,
reading also becomes more fun! The joy of reading and the
love of learning are tied to one another. Without
strong reading skills, learning across all subject
matter, even mathematics, becomes a struggle.
Fowler, S. (2000). Visual problems associated with
reading and spelling Difficulty. Professional Association
of Teachers of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties
(Information Sheet Number 5).
Gashell, M. & Altman, G. (2007). The Oxford handbook
of psycholinguistics. Oxford Press Inc., New York.
Knowler, E (1990) The role of visual and cognitive
processes in the control of eye movements. In Knowler,
E (ed) Eye Movements and their role in visual and
cognitive process. 1-70 Amerstam, Netherlands: Elsevier.
Miller, G. (1956). The magical number seven, plus
or minus two: Some limits on our capacity for processing
information. Psychosocial Review.
Iovino, I., Fletcher, J.M., Breitmeyer, B.G. &
Foorman, B.R., (1998). Colored overlays for visual
perceptual deficits in children with reading disabilities
and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: Are
they differentially effective? Journal of Clinical
and Experimental Neuropsychology, 1998, Vol. 20. No.
6, pp. 791-806.
Robinson, D.A (1981) Neurophysiology of eye movements.
Annual review Neuroscience 4, 463-503.
Wilkins, A. (1996). Helping reading with colour. Dyslexia
Review, 7(3), (1996).
Wilkins, A.J & Nimmo-Smith, I (1984) On the reduction
of eyestrain when reading Ophthalmic & Physiological
Optics (1) 53-59.