Reading skills for young ones!
There is a difference between vision and visual skills. One may have good vision but poor visual skills, and vice-versa. Many times when child is unable to write, draw properly, his parents find themselves at their wit’s end running from one optometrist to another. With the eye-sight in place, they don’t know what to do. The underlying reason could be one or more underdeveloped visual skills.
Visual skills are of many types, like visual discrimination, visual motor coordination, visual perception, visual sequencing, visual memory, visual analysis and synthesis etc.
In any activity, many visual skills work simultaneously. But many activities have one main base skill. We need to first find out which activities are difficult for the child. This helps us in finding out the visual skills that need to be enhanced.
Few activities and their related visual skills:
|Visual skill||Chief activities|
|Visual motor coordination||Beading, lacing, threading, cutting, pasting, coloring|
|Visual closure||Completing the figure|
|Visual sequence||Pattern, join the dots, what comes next|
|Visual analysis and synthesis||Puzzles|
|Visual memory||Recalling written material, pictures, objects, routes Copying text/figures|
While each activity involves more than one visual skill, the above mentioned ones are the chief skills. Thus if a child is unable to do beading and has proper vision, his visual motor coordination may be poor and may need to be enhanced. Similarly, if a child is unable to copy text from the board in school, he may be having poor visual tracking skills or poor visual memory.
Here are some activities mentioned to generally strengthen the visual skills of a child.
- Do activities that involve beading, dabbing, lacing, threading, cutting, pasting, finger printing. Sticking ‘daals’ on a line or cutting on lines is also helpful.
- Grid copying (of lines, shapes, figures). You make a grid with design and give a blank grid to the child for copying. It can also be used for visual memory where the child sees the grid and makes it from memory in his blank grid.
- Real object drawing. You give an object to the child and he has to draw it.
- Picture copying. You give a picture to the child and he has to copy it
- Activities on sequencing (what comes next, patterns etc)
- Odd one out. You show few objects in a row and the child has to figure out which figure is the odd one out in that row
- Reading with dots: write few sentences on a sheet. Each line should have only one sentence. Put a green dot at the beginning and red dot at the end of each line. The child puts finger on the green dot, starts reading by finger guidance and stops when the finger reaches red.
- Text copying: write words in a column on a sheet. Ask the child to copy them. Progress to sentences, then paragraphs later. You may use dot method here also to indicate the beginning and end
- Object memory: a)you show few objects to the child. Mix them with more objects. He has to pick only those he has seen earlier b)you give an object in his hand. You mix it with other objects. You blindfold him and ask him to pick that object from the lot
- Route memory: ask the child to describe you the route from one place to another, with the left/right turns, shops, landmarks, etc
- Mapping: you ask the child to look around the room carefully. Blindfold him. Now ask him to describe the room again. You may do it for those rooms/shops also where he has gone frequently.
- Word memory: you show a word to the child, remove the sheet, ask him to tell the word. It can be progressed to 5-6 words in a row/column. Same thing can be done with numbers (word span and number span)
- Picture memory:a)you show a picture card with 4-5 objects drawn on it. You show another picture card with 4-5 more objects drawn on it. Child has to find out those he has seen earlier b) you show few pictures drawn in a row/column, keep the paper aside and ask the child to tell the pictures in the same order (picture span)