3 Ways Reading Guide Strips May Help Your Reader


It’s the ninth word your child has missed while reading a book you made sure was perfect (This book is on their reading level)…you know they can “read” the words.

You run through all of the possible reasons they’re missing words.  Sight words? Well, they’ve memorized all bizzillion sight words - check. Unknown sounds? Nope, they’ve mastered all the phonemes in the text - check.  However, as they continue to read, they skip words like “the” and “this”, miss whole lines of text, and aren’t catching their mistakes.  What gives?

Interestingly, there may be an easy solution that can help - reading guide strips.

Reading guide strips are reading tools designed to help readers see, focus, and remember what they’ve read by forcing them to focus on and read one line of text at a time. ONE LINE AT A TIME (this is wildly important for students who have issues maintaining their place within the text or fall victim to word skipping and pattern glare - pattern glare is when the words “move around on the page”).   

The reading guide strips in the picture below are from the company “see-n-read” reading tools (www.see-n-read.com).  I bought my reading guide strips on Amazon or you can make your own.

In my experience with students and according to the see-n-read website, reading guide strips help to address the following issues:

  • Word and line skipping and pattern glare

  • Eye strain and fatigue

  • Enhances the students ability to “sweep” and “chunk” words and lines in the text

In addition, reading guide strips aid with comprehension as the reader can concentrate on what they are reading instead of having to concentrate on maintaining location because the words are “moving around” on the page.  Also, having a tool to assist with focus helps the brain process the information in a logical and organized manner.

In my experience I prefer the see-n-read reading guides as I find the color doesn’t distract the readers while reading and allows the student to see the information they’ve read before and after.

How to use reading guide strips

On the text, place the reading line (the clear part of the reading guide) over the line of text that is being read.  As you read continue to move the reading strip to each line that is being read.  It’s that simple.  

How to make using reading guide strips a habit

Just like with anything else we try to make a habit - consistency in using reading guide strips is key.  A way to increase the likelihood that your student will use the strips consistently is to use the reading strip as a bookmark, as well as, have extra reading strips on hand when they are forgotten or lost.  

In combination with other reading strategies, reading strips can be extremely helpful. They are simple to use and cost effective (if you don’t want to purchase them you can make them yourself).   

After trying reading guide strips with your reader I’d love to hear from you. I’d love to know:

  1. What was your experience using the reading guide strips?

  2. What are other reading tools you’d like to know more about?

Leave a comment here and let me know.

To bringing out the best in your child,


P.S.  If you have friends, clients or colleagues who are helping readers learn to love reading, forward this post - they just may thank you.

Chase Wesley