Thursday, January 6, 2011

See and Read Reading Tools


If you have a struggling reader, or a special needs student who has trouble keeping their focus while reading, you'll want to read this review of CadenaSmith Enterprises' products.

In late November, I was given a See-n-Read, a MemoryMark, and a 2 week trial of eSee-n-Read.

These special reading tools are the result of quite a bit of research . The founder of the company, Dr. Sylvia R. Smith, had a very bright daughter who could read sight words quite well, but was having difficulty during reading class. Her mother designed the prototype for the See-n-Read to help her focus. She quickly noticed a significant improvement. Years later another daughter, who now teaches elementary school, was dealing with struggling readers. She remembered how well this reading aid worked for her sister and asked her mother to mass produce these helpful tools for the general public.

Both teachers and students agree that the See-N-Read was of great benefit to them. In an anonymous pilot study survey, 96% of students said they liked the product, 91% reported that it helped them stay on the line that they were reading and concentrate better. You may read some testimonials on the website.

The See-n-Read works by helping a reader keep his place on a page and filtering out distractions. Energy is then directed solely at the content of the text. (After using it for a while, I realized just how much effort I put into keeping my place on a page!) It also reduces page glare, and helps the eyes read from left to right. (It comes as a surprise to many people that this needs to be learned. It is not our natural tendency)

The company has also followed all FDA guidelines in making sure that the materials are safe for children. These are BPA and phthalate free, and MADE IN THE USA. They also come in different sizes, so that they are easy to use with either a book or a document.

As you can see in the photos, what you get is a transparent sheet of a grayish color. It has a clear "readbar" a short way down, and it is flexible, making it easy to move around a page. By shading but not blocking the surrounding text, distractions are reduced without disorientation. I found that after a short adjustment period, using them was pleasant, and easy. In addition to reducing eyestrain, the See-n-Read was extremely helpful with the "everyone wants Mom as soon as she sits down to read" phenomena. No matter how many times I was called upon, I did not have to read the same thing over and over again. I found my place quickly and easily and continued on.

The children also found See-n-Read easy to use. It was especially helpful for my son who has nystagmus and strabismus.

We do quite a bit of reading aloud as part of our homeschooling. I always know when a boy has lost his place because he will make a throat clearing sound. This is just a reflex used during the time it takes to refocus. When we use the See-n-Read, there is no more throat clearing.

The MemoryMark is basically the same as the See-n-Read, only the readbar is cut out and allows for the reader to highlight passages.

My favorite of all is the eSee-n-Read. It can be used for a large smart board presentation, but it is also for personal computer use. I was able to download the software from the website. When I open the program, I get the See-n-Read right on my monitor! With a simple right click of my mouse a nice drop down menu appears that allows me to customize the tool as needed for each session. I really liked all of the features. Anyone who spends a lot of time on the computer, (especially reading documents or code) will benefit from the application. It is also perfect for teachers or lecturers who want to keep the attention of their audience on topic.

The physical products are great for the young reader as well as adults. They may be ordered for personal use as well as for large groups. Understanding that these might be used in many different circumstances, they offer a wide variety of buying options. A single item is $2.99. There are also 3 packs, 10 packs and 25 packs as well as combinations, so it's best to follow the link and see which suits your needs and budget.

The eSee-n-Read is available for PC computers for $29.99. There is a Mac version being developed, but it is not available at the time of this posting.

As you navigate the website, yo will find a lot of information about the company, the research, endorsements, and more. However, if you feel you have questions you'd like answered directly, it is easy to contact the company using the email address or by calling (630)236-5592. The fax number is (630)236-5593. Postal Mail may be sent to CadenaSmith Enterprises, 2533 Sutton Lane , Aurora, IL 60502-9461 .

Quite a few of the members of the TOS Crew have also been testing these products in their homes and have posted their reviews today. 

**As a member of the TOS Crew, I was given these products in exchange for my honest opinion as expressed in this blog. I received no compensation.