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Contrast Aids


Contrast aids provide visual contrast between text and white or light backgrounds.

Common contrast aids include colored overlays/filters, highlighter tape, colored light bulbs, and choosing appropriate background and text colors when using the computer for reading and writing tasks. Colored filters or overlays are available in many different colors and sizes. Colored light bulbs are also available commercially (they are sometime called party lights). Some students use these lights in study lamps. Most word processing programs, text reading software, and other computer based reading aids provide the option of changing font and background colors. Students are often better able to focus and attend to text that is presented to them on the computer by choosing background and font colors that make their eyes ‘feel comfortable’.

Colored overlays are available from See it Right and the National Reading Styles Institute. Highlighting tape can be found at office supply stores and many online school supply sources. The Reading Helpers and EZC Readers mentioned on the Tracking Aids page as considered contrast aids as well as tracking aids.

Contrast aids can be beneficial for students who have difficulty reading and processing text displayed on the page due to visual distortions or discomfort. Students who report that text is fuzzy, don't appear to notice space between letters or words, have difficulty copying, or exhibit fatigue or discomfort (rubbing eyes, fidgeting) when reading may benefit from the use of contrast aids.


 Resource Name Web Address
National Reading Styles Institute
Go to Go to Parents, Colored Overlays
The Irlen Institute
Go to See Sample Distortions
Reading by the Colors by Helen Irlen
See It Right
Go to Research


 Vendor Name Web Address
See It Right
National Reading Styles Institute (NRSI)
Highlighting Tape (Chrystal Springs Books)