Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Reading Pacer

Tan plastic Reading Pacer device.
Our object this week is an interesting device used by our research team in the 1960s to study reading speed.  Visually it is a tan plastic box with rounded corners, about ten inches long , six wide, and four high.  It has a clear window on the top, and on its right side are a crank, a switch, and a dial with several settings.  It was called a “Reading Pacer.”  The Educational Research Dept. at APH, headed by Dr. Carson Nolan, was studying the impact of controlled exposure devices on braille reading rates.  Nolan and Research Associate Cleves Kederis published a paper on the subject in the 1967 International Journal for the Education of the Blind, pp. 16, 97-105.  You could set the clockwork on this machine to deliver a reading lesson at a set rate measured in words per minute.  The crank was used to wind it up, and the dial set the speed at which a printed lesson would reveal itself through the window on the top.  Hint:  you can use your hand or a bookmark to perform a similar controlled exposure function and there are plenty of folks who think you can teach yourself to speed read that way!

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