Why Do We Write On White?

It is a misconception that black type on white paper is the best combination for readers and writers. It is the most commonly used and probably the least expensive and is easy to read by a fair percentage of the population.

Why Do We Write on White

In early childhood most books are coloured and writing can be intermingled with pictures. We often ask learners to colour alphabet letters or use coloured paper for handout sheets so they look attractive and inviting. We do this subconsciously, but did you know for some learners, there is a link to comprehension of written language and the colour of the paper it is written on.

Children who have challenges in reading can improve their skills by using coloured acetate overlays. These overlays change the colour of the page and make it easier for the writing to be read. Each learner will have a colour unique to them which will help them to see the words to be read.

Obtain acetate sheets in green, blue, yellow and red. Make sure they are clear enough to see through without disturbing the writing. Your assessing of the learner for the appropriate colour, for them, should be one-on-one and allow a ten minute reading session for each colour. Ask the learner what colour makes the writing clearest for them and observe what colour you feel improves their recognition of letters and words.

When a colour has been chosen make sure the acetate sheet is not too big for the learner to handle. They will need three sizes, A4, ½ A4, and ¼ A4. These sizes will fit most book sizes and the smallest can be slid down the page as they read. Also record the colour for the learner and make any photo copies you do for them on appropriate coloured paper. This allows the learner to not have to always use the acetate sheet.

Remind the learner they can use their coloured acetate sheet in all subjects as well as homework, tests and exams. Something this simple can make a big difference to some learners.

Further reading for you to support your child's writing skills:

Handwriting Practice Brings Success For Your Learners

Children's Writing - How To Support It

How To Help Your Child Write a Story


Writing Prompt Boxes



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Heather Collins

Heather Collins is an Early Childhood and Special Education Teacher who makes developmentally appropriate resources for teachers and parents to use with their children. She is author and co-author of poetry books and children’s books. She is a passionate collagist and has crafted beautiful finger puppets and story aprons suitable for early childhood education.

Her resources can be purchased on this website or she can be contacted at Create-Ed by emailing heathercreated@gmail.com. You can order an original apron for any favourite storybook.

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