THE CoolerRuler:

The CoolerRuler is a normal school ruler incorporating a slot with two sliders. When placed over the line to be read, the ruler screens the lines above and below and the sliders can be manipulated to expose only small parts of words.

How it Works

The CoolerRuler is a simple gadget, but there is an element that's vital to its success. When breaking a word into syllables for reading, it's important that each syllable is established firmly in the memory before continuing with the next. For example, if reading the word 'remember', the child should:

  1. Move the sliders to show 're', then hold the right slider still and bring the left slider to bump up against it.
  2. Hold the left slider still and move the right slider so that 'mem' shows.
  3. Now comes the important bit - Keeping the right slider still, move the left slider backwards - 'remem' shows. Practise putting these two bits together in your head before moving on to the next chunk. When you are sure of 'remem'...
  4. Move the left slider to bump against the right and move the right slider to show 'ber'.
  5. Now keep the right slider where it is and move the left slider back to the start of the word. Now it's easy to add 'remem' to 'ber'.

Please note that if the child simply works through all three syllables without step 3) the probability is that they won't be able to recall the first two syllables by the time they have read the last one.

The Principles Behind the CoolerRuler

CoolerRuler in action

Children learning to read are able to memorise only a limited number of sight words. Real reading involves being able to identify parts of words (mostly syllables) and put them together. For most children this skill is acquired automatically in the first three years of schooling, but some try to continue with the whole word approach and their reading progress stalls. Problems experienced by these children include being unable to remember the beginning of a word by the time they get to the end of it, losing their place within the word, or being distracted by words on lines above or below.

The CoolerRuler allows children to read as much, or as little, of the word as they feel they can cope with and to build up syllables one at a time.

As their reading level progresses, the right slider can be 'parked' at the right hand end of the slot and the left slider used to cover up words that have already been read, thus highlighting the remaining words and speeding up reading.

How It Works

The CoolerRuler in Action

CoolerRuler in action CoolerRuler in action

Video Tutorial

Windows Media Player is required to view.

Advantages of the CoolerRuler

  • The bulk of the ruler screens words on lines above and below, making it easy to focus on the line being read.
  • Sliders can be moved to expose only a small (and easily-read) part of the word.
  • Promotes independent reading.
  • Has the appearance of a normal school ruler and can be used as such.
  • Has a built-in measurement scale for left-handed working, enabling users to rule a measured line from right to left.
  • Also suitable for use by older children.
  • Can be used with coloured overlays.