AppStore User Rating:
Tints: Dyslexia Friendly Reading offers a selection of books (as in-app purchases) for readers ages eight to younger teen. The app provides a selection of colored backgrounds and a “reading ruler” designed to make reading easier for some individuals with dyslexia.
- Seven books available at a range of reading levels
- Free sample chapter available
- Five colored backgrounds
- Adjustable reading ruler to guide eye movements
- Dyslexia-friendly font
This app performs exactly as expected. Pages of the ebooks turn readily and the background color is easy to change. The “Reading Ruler” (a tinted guide to help with tracking across lines on the page) is readily available at the bottom of the screen, but is not intrusive. Developers included an extensive information section with videos and text explaining how the app can help individuals with dyslexia and how to use its features, as well as a “Frequently Asked Questions” section explaining how and why this app differs from other apps designed to support struggling readers.
Tints does an outstanding job of helping teachers, parents, and students discover if changes to the background color of text improves comfort and efficiency of reading. For some individuals with dyslexia, modifying the level of contrast between print and background can improve perception of words. This has been accomplished manually through the use of colored plastic overlays, which can be expensive and difficult to find. This app provides five different backgrounds that can be toggled on a master screen, providing easy access and a way to discover if this strategy will help each individual.
The app has an optional library available for purchase, with one chapter of one book available for free as a sample. There are currently seven books in the library, all award-winning juvenile fiction from Great Britain, so none of the titles are likely to be familiar to American readers. Each book costs between $7.99 and $8.99. One major drawback is that the app’s documentation indicates that stories are suitable for children from ages 8 to teen, but there is no indication of the exact reading level for any of the books. This information would be crucial for teachers working with struggling readers, since literature that is too difficult to read would be very frustrating for them. Research online reveals that the books are also available from major booksellers, but it would take effort to determine the reading level without purchasing them.
The app also includes two more interesting features. The font has been specifically designed to make reading easier for dyslexic readers, in that it eliminates letters that are identical when reversed or inverted. It also uses spacing, line length, and other visual features to best advantage. At the bottom of the screen is a feature called the “Reading Ruler.” This section of slightly more vividly-tinted screen is adjustable in that it can be raised and lowered across the text. The horizontal edges can help readers with tracking, and the tinted area can serve to highlight the text as it is being read.
Another use for this app is to discover if overlays would help a dyslexic student. The sample chapter offers an opportunity to experiment with the five colors of background, and the colors included are fairly standard and match with overlays available from educational supply companies. In addition, there is an extensive information section that uses a different color background on each page. More able readers can experiment with this section to discover if tinted pages or changes to contrast levels between background and text improve their reading.
This app is not intended to be entertaining.
While this free app is very useful to help teachers, parents or mentors determine if colored backgrounds make reading easier or more comfortable for struggling students, it does not have too many resources by itself. Purchase of books (available as in-app purchases) could be on the expensive side, as each costs between $7.99 and $8.99. While there is no indication of the size of the books within the app, an internet search of major booksellers revealed that the sample book (Hostage by Malorie Blackman) is 72 pages in length in print. Developers should consider increasing the number of available titles as well as adding some titles at lower costs.
This app is intended for use by adults with children, or by adults who are struggling with reading. However, parents should be aware that the in-app purchases for books in the library are not protected by a parent gate. Tapping the purchase price brings up the log-in screen for the App Store directly.
- Parent area (contains no external links)
- NO social media
- NO 3rd party ads
- YES unprotected in-app purchases