Improve Student Reading with DIY Reading Guides - Caffeine Queen Teacher

Improve Student Reading with DIY Reading Guides

Here’s a DIY hack to improve students’ reading by using a simple, easy-to-make reading guide to assist students with their tracking! Visual tracking during reading can be improved with the aid of a simple tool that you can make!

My students use these nearly every single day at school. It’s one of those great tips – quick, easy, and cheap!

Hack for helping students reading improvement

Many students struggle with tracking issues – which is their ability to process what they see from left to right as they read. Our eyes naturally look all over instinctively. I’m sure it helped our ancestors stay safe.However, it doesn’t help us as readers when our eyes are looking all over a page in a book.

Some students have erratic movement, and these guides help them to focus on smaller areas of reading at a time.

We teach our students to track from left to right as they read, but some students continue to struggle. Using a finger is an obviously easy way to help tracking – it doesn’t require any tools! If that doesn’t do the trick, there are other tools to try.

I’m sure you’ve seen the EZ Reader highlighting strips that sell at Amazon (and many other places). I actually bought and used these in my classroom a couple of years ago. They are called Reading Guide Highlight Strips and sell at Amazon in a pack of 12 for $13.00.

DIY reading guide hack for students

Useful but expensive reading guides

That’s when I decided that I wasn’t going to spend my money on any more of these. Which is fine, except that they really did help my students read more fluently and not lose their place on a page.

Well, they really are a great product . . . for the first couple of weeks. Then they began disappearing (but no one took them – you know how that goes – no one ever admits to taking anything), and they got bent up and wrinkles, and the highlighted plastic comes out, etc. My students literally beat them up.


Here’s where my consumer savviness (really that just means I’m a tightwad!) comes into play.


First, get a few pages of transparency film – I used the kind you can run through a copier.

DIY Hack for reading guide strips

Transparency film – the kind you use for copiers and overhead projectors

Next, I cut it into four equal sized pieces, but you can use the sizes that work best for your students.
The third and final step is to make a straight line on the transparency film for students to use as a guide when reading.

Classroom Teaching Tips

Sometimes I turn the transparency film long-ways (landscape orientation) and draw the lines on that way. That seems to work out better for some books that have wide pages.

Improve student reading with ONE easy hack!

Here is a reading guide placed over a Read Naturally passage

And there you have it – Short, simple, and sweet! And economical!!

I’d love to know what quick tricks you use to assist students with their reading – please leave a comment below!

Take care and please stop back again!

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