FocusandRead - App for Struggling Readers - Research-Based Literacy Tool Evolves into Helpful App for Struggling Readers - How many students do you know who struggle to focus and read with sustained attention? What do you do to help students easily overwhelmed with large amounts of text on a computer screen? Many educators like you observe these challenges, but what can a teacher do to help? One Missouri middle school teacher noticed too many of her students were challenged with focusing issues when reading physical as well as digital media, and she decided to do something significant about it. Now there is a NEW app for struggling readers!
A few years ago, Joan M. Brennan created the first prototype of an idea that eventually became the Reading Focus Card (Patent 7,565,759), a low-tech tool for reading physical books and documents. In 2007 and 2011, two independent research studies of this patented reading aid demonstrated that it could effectively improve focus, tracking, reading rate and comprehension for elementary as well as secondary struggling readers. Shortly thereafter, the reading tools were manufactured (in the U.S.) and made available for purchase.
Then in 2009 with a second patent and revenue earned from sales of the physical Reading Focus Cards, Mrs. Brennan began working to bring this low-tech tool to a whole new level---that of a virtual Reading Focus Card for use with digital media. She collaborated with a clinical psychologist who had worked with many challenged readers and an experienced software developer of special needs apps. Together, the three of them successfully created a user-friendly application to help persons of any age to focus and read digital media with much more visual comfort, attention and overall reading success.
In November 2014, The Reading Focus Cards desktop app (Patent 8,360,779) was published by Brennan Innovators,
LLC for Macs and Windows PCs. This innovative, overlay-type app DIRECTS your eyes to FOCUS on one or more lines of digital text AND BLOCKS OUT as much or as little surrounding text as selected to improve your reading experience. Readers of any age can benefit significantly from using this customizable app by configuring it to meet one’s unique reading needs. The application can be especially helpful to individuals challenged with ADHD, dyslexia, autism, low vision, Down syndrome, stroke, brain injury issues and other conditions that can impact reading success.
This new Reading Focus Cards desktop app is based on its physical counterparts, the low-tech Reading Focus Card tools that are made in the U.S. and also available from Brennan Innovators. Though similar to its research-based predecessors, the digital application provides many additional features to help you keep your place for more productive reading. When in use, the virtual Reading Focus Card actually floats on top of an underlying application to help you more easily read a web page, Word or pdf document, Excel spreadsheet, e-book or other digital media. The application will also allow you to:
- Infinitely configure the virtual Reading Focus Card’s features to improve your focus & attention, decoding skills, reading rate, comprehension & retention!
- Independently customize the color, level of transparency, height, width, and orientation of both the Reading Window and Reading Card to provide more reading comfort and focus to block out distractions and keep you focused on the text you are reading.
- Never worry about the virtual Reading Focus Card disappearing from the screen unexpectedly! It stays on top of your open windows, so you can scroll through web pages, flip through an e-book or read documents without interruption. You decide when to close the application. (Currently, most mobile devices are unable to successfully support this unique, overlay-type Reading Focus Cards app that stays on top of and moves independently of the underlying media applications.)
- Easily move the virtual Reading Focus Card over an underlying application on the screen with a touchpad, mouse, arrow keys or even with your fingers, where touch-enabled technology is applicable.
Now, readers of all ages and abilities have both physical and digital tools to help them focus and read better---thanks to one Midwestern teacher who wanted to make a difference in the lives of her struggling student readers!
For more information about the Reading Focus Cards app (including screenshots) or to purchase this app ($5.99 per download), please visit the following links:
Microsoft Windows Store and search for the Reading Focus Cards app
(No URLs provided for apps in the Windows Store.)
Joan M. Brennan