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Buying guide for best reading guide strips and pages

Blaming diminished reading comprehension on fatigue, lack of focus, or overstimulation is easy, but even when a reader is well-rested, focused, and distraction-free, they may still have trouble. At this point, reading struggles may seem baffling and difficult to overcome.

Fortunately, a number of strategies and tools can help with visual processing. One of the best options available also happens to be one of the most affordable: a reading guide strip. In that same vein, a reading guide page can also help.

Learn more about these remarkable devices and how they can help enhance visual processing for you or your child.

A reading guide strip can help engage a student who craves hands-on learning, making the process of reading more enjoyable.

Key considerations

What is a reading guide strip?

Have you ever used a highlighter to draw attention to a key sentence or a paragraph in a book? In short, that is what a reading guide strip is. Unlike a highlighter, however, a reading guide strip does not create a permanent mark in the book. In fact, you can move it around to focus on specific lines or sections.

Strip size

A reading guide strip limits the amount of text the reader is viewing. Therefore, size is an important element to consider when choosing a reading guide strip.


A reading guide strip can make a particular line stand out on a page so the reader can focus on that line without fear of losing their place. While books obviously come in a variety of sizes, 7.5 inches tends to be a good ballpark length for most books. However, it is possible to purchase reading guide strips between 5 and 10 inches long.


Many reading guide strips feature two opaque sections: one at the top and one at the bottom. In the middle of those sections is a thin section that is tinted yet transparent. The middle section is typically tall enough to view one line of text at a time. However, some reading guide strips allow the reader to view two lines of text at once, and on some, the tinted section is several inches wide so the reader can focus on a chunk of text (yet still less than a full page).

Often, on guides that are several inches wide, the entire sheet is transparent and tinted. To help the reader keep their place, there may be a darker line running across the top that can be used to underscore a line of text so the reader doesn't get lost. Alternatively, some readers prefer to place that line above the line of text they are reading.

This brings us to reading guide pages. A reading guide page is a tinted, transparent sheet that covers the entire page of a book. The sheet changes the contrast of the entire page to help minimize obstacles such as pattern glare.


Like a highlighter, a reading guide strip employs color. There are two important reasons why color is used: to highlight and to reduce contrast.

Highlight: If a goal is to improve focus and concentration, color can help mark a reader’s location on the page. Since reading guide strips are sold in bundles with a variety of colors, most people will be happy to simply choose their favorite color and start reading with it.

Reduce contrast: With a visual processing concern like pattern glare, choosing the right color is critical as to whether the reading guide strip works or not. Since everyone is a little different, it's impossible to predict the ideal color for a specific individual. Furthermore, some reading guide strips only come in one color. If this is your first time using a reading guide strip, the best strategy is to purchase a pack with a broad range of colors. That way, you can test each color to determine which one makes the text easiest to read.

Of course, if you already know which color works best, you can target your search to that color. Notably, single colors are usually available only with reading guide pages, not packages of reading guide strips.

Did You Know?
Reading guide strips aren't just for kids. Many adults benefit from using these handy devices as well.



Some reading guide strips or pages come as single sheets; others come in variety packs consisting of 32 guides or more. If you need strips for more than one person, consider a larger pack that offers more choice.


Some reading guide strips are thin and flexible. Individuals who prefer these say they are easier to curl off a page when an electrostatic charge makes it stick or cling. Other guides are thick and less flexible. Individuals who prefer these say they like their durability.

Did You Know?
While using a pointer, such as a finger, may work for the earliest reader, that strategy may actually inhibit reading speed and comprehension as reading skills increase. A reading guide strip or a reading guide page is a better option for readers who are more advanced.

Benefits of reading guide strips and pages

  • Reading guide strips and pages help the reader maintain focus. The eyes stay focused on a single line or area.
  • They help prevent readers from getting lost. When transitioning between lines, some readers lose their place. A reading guide strip helps prevent this.
  • They help with tracking. The eye is trained to smoothly transition from word to word.
  • They reduce pattern glare. Only one line is seen at a time, so there is no pattern. What’s more, the tinted guide helps reduce contrast, which can help reduce pattern glare.
  • They reduce the incidence of skipping and rereading. With such a tight focus, readers do not tend to skip or reread words or lines when using a reading guide.
  • They enhance comprehension. When using a reading guide strip, an individual can place their full attention on understanding what they are reading because they do not have to focus on keeping their place.
  • They can help reduce headaches. Headaches that arise from eye strain and intense focus can be reduced with the help of a reading guide strip.
  • They can reduce sleepiness. Fatigue can set in when reading obstacles are present. A reading guide strip can help combat feelings of exhaustion.
  • They can help with dyslexia. Because reading guide strips limit the size of word chunks taken in, they can help increase comprehension for readers with dyslexia.
  • They can help increase reading speed. Using a reading guide strip is a proven way for individuals to increase their reading speed.
Did You Know?
One way to keep your child from constantly losing their reading guide strip is to use it as a bookmark so it is always where it needs to be.

Reading guide strips and pages: prices

Inexpensive: You can purchase a single reading guide strip or page for $1 to $3.

Mid-range: The bulk of reading guide strips cost between $6 and $15. At this price, you can expect to find a variety of strips ranging from 6 to 10 colors.

High-end: At the upper end of the price scale, from roughly $15 to $25, you can get larger packs of guide strips with two or more of each color — or a pack of 24 same-colored reading guide strips, which might be suitable for a classroom. You can find packs of reading guide pages at this price as well.

Not everyone experiences pattern glare in the same way. For some, tinting a white page yellow could make black print appear crisper. For others, a slight blue tint might be the most beneficial color. The idea is to use the color that makes reading letters effortless for the eyes.


Q. At what age are reading guide strips beneficial?

A. While reading guide strips can be incredibly helpful, especially for individuals with visual processing difficulties, they are not beneficial to everyone. For instance, if your child is just learning to read and is still struggling with word recognition, a reading guide strip will not be helpful. In the early stages of learning to read, using a finger or some other type of pointer is much more beneficial because it encourages the child to focus on individual words.

Reading guide strips are not recommended until a child can easily recognize more than half of the words in every sentence. This happens at a different age for each child, so the takeaway here is that reading level matters more than age.

Q. How do you use a reading guide strip?

A. Reading guide strips and pages are extremely easy to use. With a strip, simply place the tinted, transparent section on top of the line you'd like to read. When finished, slide it down to the next line. With a larger reading guide strip, simply place it on top of the paragraph you are currently reading. When finished, slide it down to the next paragraph. With a reading guide page, place it on top of the entire page. When finished, move it to the next page.

Q. What is pattern glare?

A. Have you ever seen those optical illusions that have sharply contrasting colors and a page full of repetitive shapes, such as a series of closely spaced black and white lines or squares? The combination of contrast and pattern is designed to fool your eye to make it see phantom images between the shapes or to create an effect, as if the squares are somehow moving. It can be quite disorienting and cause the eye to quickly fatigue.

A person who experiences pattern glare has the same experience when looking at black text on a white page. The text can shimmer and require extra focus and concentration to see. Pattern glare can transform reading from a joy to an arduous task.


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