Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Reading Focus Cards Desktop App: A High-tech Solution for Challenged Readers

Congratulations to Brennan Innovators, in celebration of their fourth anniversary as a recipient of the Kidlutions: Solutions for Kids  Reading Focus Cards  (Patent 7,565,759) and the Reading Focus Cards desktop app  (Patent 8,360,779). Both were invented by Joan Brennan of Brennan Innovators. Joan is an incredible champion of education, supporting challenged readers everywhere. She is an amazing person, as well.

Help for Struggling Readers

I don't know about you, but I am always amazed when a product idea is conceived, developed and finally comes to fruition.  Truly, it is a labor of love.  Such is the case with the Reading Focus Cards desktop app  (Patent 8,360,779), created by Brennan Innovators, an incredible company that had already met with much success with their physical, low-tech Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759), which have helped countless challenged readers.

In addition to be used with books and documents, 
the low-tech Reading Focus Cards, pictured above and below, 
can also be used with many high-tech reading devices.

Whether you prefer the low-tech, customizable Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759) for physical books, documents, etc. OR the high-tech Reading Focus Cards desktop app (Patent 8,360,779) for much more FOCUSED online reading of nearly any digital media (webpages, e-books, PDF files, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets & more), the Reading Focus Cards and the Reading Focus Cards desktop app have you covered!

The High-tech Reading Focus Cards Desktop App

The high-tech version of the Reading Focus Cards, the Reading Focus Cards desktop app, can conveniently be used directly on your digital device.  According to the Help for Struggling Readers blog, the official blog of Brennan Innovators:

The glimmer of this software idea came to us way back in 2003---even before the word "app" was commonly used for a software program. The idea remained on the drawing board here at Brennan Innovators until 2009 when the first patent was issued for our low-tech reading tools, the Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759). When orders for these physical reading tools began to arrive in increasing numbers, we started saving some of that revenue in preparation for possible app development. At the same time in 2009, a second patent application was submitted---this time, for the Reading Focus Cards desktop app idea.

That is some dedication. A six-year wait finally resulted in the birth of the desktop app to help struggling readers. The app is an overlay that appears on your screen, providing you with the option to customize its appearance.

Here's an example of the Reading Focus Cards desktop app in action.

Here's another example. This digital media tool enables readers to 
configure its various features, customizing it to their individual needs.

Yet another glimpse of how the desktop app can be 
individualized for the user.

Features of the Reading Focus Cards desktop app (Patent 8,360,779) include:

1. Flexible features allow the reader to change height and/or width of the virtual Reading Focus Cards desktop app as well as those of the virtual Reading Window Filter.

2. Lets the user change the colors of the tool, providing the most comfortable and preferred option for each unique reader.

3. Compatible with and supports touch-screen technology (where applicable). Where touch-screen is not an option, the mouse and arrow keys provide the movement for the digital Reading Focus Cards desktop app. The speed is controlled by the reader. Regardless of the technology used, the application stays on top of the text while in use, which eliminates further frustration by an already challenged reader.

Here's how you can get your Reading Focus Cards desktop app (Patent 8,360,779):

1. For Macs: 
Visit the Mac App Store at

2. For Windows PCs: 
Visit Gumroad at OR visit the Microsoft Windows Store and search for the app called Reading Focus Cards. (No URLs are provided for apps in the Windows Store.)

To learn more about the Reading Focus Cards desktop app (Patent 8,360,779), please visit

To learn more about the Reading Focus Cards desktop app, go HERE.

Connect with Brennan Innovators:

Facebook:  The Reading Focus Cards  

Twitter:  @FocusAndRead  

Pinterest: Joan Brennan

Again, congratulations to Brennan Innovators. We are so happy to have you as part of the Kidlutions family and we applaud your ongoing efforts to support struggling readers worldwide!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Reading Focus Card is a Winner!

The Reading Focus Card Awarded Seal of Approval

A very happy third anniversary to the Reading Focus Card (Patent 7,565,759).  We are so happy to have this product as one of our long-standing award-winners.  Developed by Brennan Innovators, LLC, the Reading Focus Card exemplifies the spirit of the Kidlutions Solutions for Kids Award, which is granted to products that change lives. The Reading Focus Card continues to make a difference in lives of struggling and new readers world wide!

How It Helps

The Reading Focus Card is a non-invasive and inexpensive reading aid.  It helps kids with a variety of learning styles by providing differentiated instruction for such issues as: ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, autism, low vision issues and stroke-related difficulties.  It can even help young readers because it promotes left to right reading.  

The Reading Focus Card can be used with e-readers (the shorter version is perfect for Kindle) and e-tablets (the long version works great with iPads, Android tablets, etc.)  This tool has so much versatility!

The Reading Focus Card is Now Tech Savvy

The Reading Focus Card App in Action (above).
The card and reading window size adjustments, as well 
as the color options of both will be nearly unlimited.

It appears we have more to celebrate than an anniversary, however! The Reading Focus Card is now available in an app (Patent 8,360,779)! Seems too good to be true, but it's not! I'd say Brennan Innovators, LLC, is aptly named.  The company is a front runner in innovation and taking things to the next level.

The current desktop app is for PCs and Mac computers and laptops. You can find it HERE. As soon as the iTunes link is available we will share it right here, so be sure to check back.

Complete List of Links

Here is the complete set of links for accessing and downloading the new Reading Focus Cards app (Patent 8,360,779):
1. For Windows PCs:
Visit the Microsoft Windows Store and search for the app called "Reading Focus Cards."  (No URLs are ever provided for apps in the Windows Store.)
2. Another option to access this Windows PC version:
3. For Macs:
Visit the Mac App Store and search for "Read and Focus" or go directly to

Compatibility with iPads and other mobile devices is hoped for in the near future. With Brennan Innovators, LLC, you can bet future developments are in the works!

It Keeps Getting Better

The Reading Focus Card continues to show its value, not only for reading, but also for use in math, for reading charts and graphs, as well as for easier viewing of stock quotes.  (The video below provides more information.)  The Reading Focus Card is available in two different sizes and the reading filter color can also be customized. 

A very cool feature on the company's site also allows you to change the background color of the page, when you visit! I LOVE that! Don't think it matters so much? Check it out for yourself HERE.

Learn More About the Reading Focus Card

Advantages of Using the Reading Focus Card 

Brennan Innovators, LLC website lists the following advantages to using the Reading Focus Card:
  • Enables a reader to more easily focus when reading a line of text
  • Promotes better concentration and comprehension
  • Is non-invasive with no side effects because no medication is involved
  • Is portable and easy to store in pocket or purse
  • Can double as a bookmark for easiest access
  • Can also be stored on a binder ring to prevent loss
  • Promotes accurate placeholder work as in column addition or long division
  • Assists with reading charts, graphs, and stock quotes
  • Is non-mechanical requiring no energy/maintenance
  • Is easy on the eyes—pastel (soothing) or bright (for added emphasis)
  • Is very inexpensive to purchase and/or repurchase
  • Is very easy to use! 
     Explore More 
    See our previous posts on this gem of a product, and learn more about 
    Joan Brennan, the genius behind the product!

Congratulations, Brennan Innovators, LLC, and the Reading Focus Card!
We are so happy to have you as part of the Kidlutions family!

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Reading Focus Card is a Game-Changer

Happy Anniversary, Reading Focus Card!

Somebody's having another anniversary with the Kidlutions Seal of Approval and it's the Reading Focus Card (Patent 7,565,759).  That's right, a resource so powerful and so unique, it's patented.

Can you imagine a world without reading?  Neither can I!  That is just one of the reasons why Kidlutions continues to bestow its Seal of Approval upon the Reading Focus Card.


This simple, affordable tool has been a game-changer to many.  Kids and adults alike have found the ease of use and portability of this tool to contribute to the overall success in using it.  It can fit in a pencil case, a purse or a back pocket. This tool provides a unique, unobtrusive aid to individuals who might otherwise give up reading because of the struggles they experience.  And you don't even have to leave home to get it.  The Reading Focus Card is available on  I can tell you firsthand that this tool is heads above what was used by kids when I was a special ed social worker in the schools.

The Genius Behind the Invention

Joan Brennan, Inventor/Educator
Joan Brennan, the inventor of the Reading Focus Card, is more than just a name.  She's a real, breathing person who cares an awful lot.  Her blog, Help for Struggling Readers, offers an amazing array of resources on a consistent basis.  Joan is about as generous as they come, too.  She's sharing all of her incredible information on facebook, twitter and pinterest.  Be sure to catch her there!

Don't Just Take My Word for It

Not only did the Reading Focus Card pass muster with our reviewers and me, there is a plethora of satisfied customers out there, using the Reading Focus Card every day.  And it's making a big difference.  See what they have to say here on

What Makes the Reading Focus Card Different?

The following was excerpted directly from .

What To Look for in an Educational Tool

Children and adults with attention deficiencies need tools to help focus on individual words.  It is difficult for them to first focus to read a full sentence and then process its correct meaning.  Many basic, educational methods fail to provide 3 basic parameters needed to be effective and aid struggling readers:

1.  A good reading aid for kids and adults must help them focus more easily on a specific part of a page.
2.  The tool should allow them to concentrate on individual words when needed.
3.  Such a device needs to encourage the eye to move easily from left to right and from one line of text to another.
4. The ideal reading tool should be research-based. 

The Reading Focus Card is a reading aid that provides all of the above and helps kids and adults of any age to experience more reading success. The Reading Focus Card is also an effective learning tool for kids and adults who need supportive tools and learning strategies to focus their attention on printed material at hand and the exact meaning of that material.

So there you have it folks.  The Reading Focus is the real deal.  Get one for your struggling reader today.

Read other related posts:

The Reading Focus Card Changes Lives

Helping Kids Focus and Read

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Helping Kids Focus, Read and Succeed: The Reading Focus Card

Happy Anniversary, Reading Focus Card!

Happy Anniversary to the Reading Focus Card (Patent 7,565,759), which just marked its one year anniversary with the Kidlutions Seal of Approval.  That makes for one more year of helping kids, teens and adults improve their concentration and their ability to comprehend the written word.  Created by Joan Brennan, reading expert, the Reading Focus Card is unparalleled when it comes to assisting struggling readers. You can see their original winning post here.

The Reading Focus Card in action.

ADD. ADHD, Dyslexia, Autism and More

Reading is essential to getting through life.  Most of us take it for granted.  But for those individuals diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, dyslexia or autism, reading is a struggle.  For the kids with whom I've worked as a therapist, it can be an absolute nightmare.  Indeed, reading issues have impacted whole families, causing homework struggles, issues with grades, arguments about the length of time it takes to complete assignments (or the fact that assignments don't get done), and more.  When reading problems reach critical mass, I am happy to tell them about the Reading Focus Card.  Better yet, I am happy to recommend it prior to reading issues spiraling out of control.

The Reading Focus Card comes in a variety of colors.

What Makes the Reading Focus Card Different?

When a reading expert develops a product that helps with reading, you can bet you will be getting something special.  More than just a good idea, the Reading Focus Card is proven to make a difference.  Parents and educators can obtain ongoing support, tips and tricks into helping struggling readers by following Joan's blog, "Help for Struggling Readers", and perusing some of her "Strategies and Accommodations for Challenged Learners". One could also get more understanding of the special concerns caused by ADD, ADHD, dyslexia and autism and how each of these impacts reading comprehension, by reading Joan's insights. 

Joan Brennan, inventor of the Reading Focus Card.

Your Go-To Gal for Reading Difficulties

Joan Brennan, inventor of the Reading Focus Card, is your go-to gal when it comes to helping struggling readers.  She is real, accessible and knowledgeable.  Follow her on Facebook for daily updates, tips and ideas. See some of the great contributions she has made to Kidlutions' Spin-Doctor Parenting Blog: Helping Kids Avoid Summer Brain Drain and Enticing Your Toddler into the World of Reading.
Congratulations on your one year anniversary with us, Joan!  We are so happy to have you as part of our Kidlutions family!

P.S. Kudos to the Reading Focus Card for also garnering a great review from ADDitude Magazine!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Take Your Pix® Board Book Photo Albums: Purposeful Fun

Laura Miranti and her daughter who inspired the
Take Your Pix® board book albums.

A picture paints a thousand words. Since the dawn of man, we have attempted to communicate with each other in pictures. We've never lost that desire to view images and in particular, images of people we love, places that we've been and occasions that are important in our lives. It is just as important to the youngsters in our lives. Only problem is, most parents are hesitant to hand over archival quality scrapbooks and albums for little ones to explore, tug on, rip at and even drool on.

All of that changes with the sturdy Take Your Pix® board book photo albums! These awesome board book albums offer an adorable and durable alternative to traditional photo albums, making them perfect for little hands and exploring minds! They are so well-constructed and sturdy, which, as most parents and educators know, equals a quality product.

This version has the title, "My First Photos", with flocked letters.
It makes for a wonderful tactile experience!

For Laura Miranti, the creator of the Take Your Pix® board book photo albums, this invention was a labor of love. She was inspired by her young daughter, who had some developmental delays and needed some support to catch up to her peers. One of the specialists that worked with Laura's daughter recommended using photos of family, friends and objects that were familiar to her. Laura was hard pressed to find a photo album that would hold up to the kind of "love" a young child would bestow upon such a book, so she created the Take Your Pix® board book photo albums.

A mother's love knows no bounds. While developed out of the love for her daughter and the necessity for a product that would serve a most important purpose, the Take Your Pix® board book photo albums have translated into a product that appeals to the masses. Young children adore seeing photos of themselves and the people and things they love. And according to the company's website, "Studies have shown that young children only have object recognition with photos. This means that before the age of two, they can not relate a drawing of an object with the actual object, but they can relate a photo of the object with the actual object." That has huge implications when it comes to helping our youngest children learn to communicate.

How this Product Changes Lives

The The Take Your Pix® board book album has so many applications, which makes it so valuable to so many. There really is no end to the way in which these board book albums can be used. We'll share a few ideas here, and if you have an idea to add, feel free to share them in our comments section.

1. Use it to help kids begin to identify objects in their daily lives: chair, book, bed, mommy, daddy, tree, dog, brother, sister, toothbrush, etc. All children need to learn these skills, and repetition works wonders!

2. Use it for alphabet and number recognition. You can scrapbook right on the pages with stickers and other doo-dads, and add picture of an object that begins with that letter. The company's website has some great examples.

3. Use it as a bridge for young children who have relatives and family members that live a distance. This will help young children better get to know what Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Rosie look like, even though they aren't part of their daily lives.

4. Use it for young children experiencing separation anxiety when they are at daycare. Pictures can be included of the child with mom and dad, with the daycare provider, doing fun things at daycare, and then getting picked back up at the end of the day. (Mommy and Daddy always come back to get me!)

5. For young children struggling to get ready in the mornings for preschool, make a book that shows the steps it takes (getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, getting shoes and coat on, etc). For a child having difficulty getting ready for bed a night, show similar steps. The possibilities are endless here.

6. For children with special needs such as autism and other issues that impede communication, the Take Your Pix® board book albums can offer unparalleled assistance. A key support and adaptation for children on the autism spectrum is the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), which I am very familiar with as a behavioral health consultant to early childhood programming. The PECS system goes a long way towards reducing frustration, anger and behavioral symptoms, by allowing children with limited communication skills to be able to convey their needs. Having seen this system in action, I know firsthand how wonderful it is. The company's website has a nice post on this topic.

7. Another grand use of the Take Your Pix® board book albums is for creating Social Stories. These stories are also used for children with special needs, including autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), etc. You can find some great examples of social stories here.

8. As originally intended, the Take Your Pix® can help kids with delays begin to communicate their wants, desires and needs.
One thing is for sure, no matter how you utilize your Take Your Pix® board book albums, it does provide you with purposeful fun. When learning is attached to fun, we are much more likely to be able to recall the information.

Welcome to the Kidlutions family, Laura and Take Your Pix®! We are so glad to have you aboard!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Twooth Timer Makes Toothbrushing FUN

Do you struggle to get your kids to brush their teeth?  And when you do get them to brush, do they do so in a hurried and inefficient manner?  Stop those battles with the Twooth Timer!

The Twooth Timer to the Rescue

Helping your child move towards independence with oral hygiene is an important task, but one that is often easier said than done.  Kids can come up with about a thousand different things that they'd rather do than brush their teeth.  Building skyscrapers out of blocks, jumping through puddles and playing in a pots'n'pans rock band is often way more appealing than tooth-brushing.  That is, until the Twooth Timer makes its entrance!

Antoinette deJanasz, inventor of the Twooth Timer

The Twooth Timer is a tooth-shaped timer that was invented by Antoinette de Janasz, president of the company.  The timer can be set for one minute or two minutes (the amount of time experts recommend we brush our teeth).  The company's tagline aptly reads, "Get your kids to brush for two minutes without 'pulling teeth'."  I have to tell you, they're right. 

If you have never timed yourself brushing your teeth, you will be amazed once you do.  You'll realize that, like most people, you don't even brush for half of the recommended time.  In fact, most young adults brush about a quarter of the recommended time.  Younger kids, I am sure, brush way less than that when nobody's looking.

Why Twooth Brushing Matters

Brushing teeth has always been important for healthy teeth and gums, but it turns out that the proper care and keeping of our chompers also protects our overall health.  According to the Twooth Timer website:

"New research is finding that heart disease and strokes,
as well as diabetes and respiratory disease,
may be linked to gum disease. Consider
your mouth as a doorway to your body. Plaque is a
colorless film of bacteria that sticks to
teeth and if not properly removed, can lead to gum
disease. The bacteria associated with gum disease can enter
your bloodstream and travel throughout your body.
Good oral hygiene is the best prevention."

Start Early, Stay Strong

Building healthy habits starts from a young age.  Making oral care a regular part of the day from the time your baby is born, makes this life-long skill second nature.  Early on, you'll be doing the cleaning and brushing for your child.  Then, you'll move on to assisting your child, until your child is old enough to brush herself.  Making the Twooth Timer part of the whole routine makes it fun and more effective. 

Be sure to keep the Twooth Timer's contact information on hand, because cousins, friends and other visitors may want to know how they can score one for themselves!  I'm not kidding.  The Twooth Timer is just that fun!  And it costs way less than the copay for the cost of one filling!

The Twooth Timer

Great for Toddlers, Tweens and Teens!

You may think that the Twooth Timer would be something that kids will use as toddlers and preschoolers, then quickly outgrow.  Not so, as my own homegrown research has proven.  When my review unit of the Twooth Timer arrived, I thought I would check it out, do my review and then donate it to a family, preschool or other such program.  Not so!  My two youngest, a tween and a teen, saw the Twooth Timer and begged to open it.  They have been using it ever since.  It is perched (ever so cutely) on a shelf in our bathroom!  My youngest has even discovered that, since the Twooth Timer has the one minute mark, he can use it to swish anti-cavity rinse in his mouth, as well.  He was psyched to find another reason to use it.

In fact, Antoinette shared with me in one communcation, that she developed the Twooth Timer when her kids were well past toddler and preschool age.  They also loved the timer!  And...her children, now grown, have never had a cavity!  Clearly, Antoinette was on to something with this invention!

How the Twooth Timer Changes Lives

Taking care of ourselves goes a long way towards boosting our self-confidence and is an expression of self-love.  People who take care of themselves seem to feel good about themselves and people who feel good about themselves tend to take better care of themselves.  It's a never ending cycle.  Our confidence and self-esteem is tied making healthy life choices.

When Antionette submitted this product, I was so impressed with both its simplicity, and the far-reaching impact it can have on people's lives. I have worked with teens in the past, who have had many dental problems (cavities, poor oral hygiene, etc.), and who were teased mercilessly as very young children.  The effects of that teasing was still very fresh in their minds as teens, even though their beautiful, permanent teeth were in.  Our smiles very much affect our self-esteem.  Therefore, the Twooth Timer changes smiles, changes self-perception and changes lives.

Welcome, Twooth Timer and Antoionette, to the Kidlutions family of award-winners!  We are so glad to have you!

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Reading Focus Card Changes Lives

The Reading Focus Card

The Struggle

Reading takes people places. Literally and figuratively. Yet, every day in the world, countless numbers of people struggle to do what you are doing right now…reading.  When someone struggles with reading, every other subject presents challenges, as well. The reverse is also true.  When someone masters reading, it makes it that much easier to master other subjects.

Dyslexia, ADHD and More

That’s easier said than done, though, when you have dyslexia or ADHD or another reading disability. Reading can become a struggle, and many battles are waged in homes and schools across the world because of the challenges that some individuals face. Sometimes people give up all together. At worst, some may feel that they just aren’t smart and that they’ll never measure up.

The Reading Focus Card

All of that can change with the Reading Focus Card (Patent 7,565,759), which helps individuals challenged with tracking and focusing when attempting to read or study.  Designed by a mom and teacher, the Reading Focus Card is an ingenious way to combat all of the aforementioned problems. Joan Brennan, the inventor, has taught children with varying abilities and also has four boys of her own.  She has developed this incredible tool to help with many reading problems.

Joan Brennan, inventor of the Reading Focus Card.

The company's website identifies these features and benefits of the Reading Focus Card:
  • Enables a reader to more easily focus when reading a line of text
  • Promotes better concentration and comprehension
  • Is non-invasive with no side effects because no medication is involved
  • Is portable and easy to store in pocket or purse
  • Can double as a bookmark for easiest access
  • Can also be stored on a binder ring to prevent loss
  • Promotes accurate placeholder work as in column addition or long division
  • Assists with reading charts, graphs, and stock quotes
  • Is non-mechanical requiring no energy/maintenance
  • Is easy on the eyes—pastel (soothing) or bright (for added emphasis)
  • Is very inexpensive to purchase and/or repurchase
  • Is very easy to use!
The Reading Focus Card is appropriate for use with both children and adults.  It can be used by both individuals with reading disabilities and those without, as this tool helps reduce eye-strain for even the most proficient of readers.

View a quick video to learn more about the Reading Focus Card:

How This Product Changes People's Lives

Struggling with reading takes its toll on one's self-esteem.  It saps one's confidence and even their desire to try harder. Having worked as a therapist with kids diagnosed with reading disabilities, I know full well the impact this can have on them.  Kids have told me, "Reading is stupid."  "I'll never learn to read."  "I  don't even care about reading." Saddest of all, some kids have said about themselves, "I'm just stupid."

The Reading Focus Card provides kids with a winning tool and strategy that can change all of the above.  As they gain better ability in their reading, their self-esteem and confidence rises.  Kids with more confidence are willing to risk to try more academically.  As kids experience more success, they may continue to push themselves more.  This product builds reading skills and so much more!

Welcome, Joan Brennan, and Brennan Innovators, LLC, to the Kidlutions family of award-winning products. Your Reading Focus Card is a shining example of Solutions for Kids...and we are proud to put our Seal of Approval on it!