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Friday, May 9, 2014

5 Tips for Improving Visual Processing

About 1/3 of the children we help through Easyread have eye-tracking or other visual weaknesses that prevent them from fully progressing. Even after we have improved their poor phonemic skills, issues like eye-tracking or convergence can impede these students reaching their full reading potential.

We often prescribe a 10-day course of exercises to help this, which are incredibly effective - if you're interested, please get in touch for more information.

However, there are simpler activities that are both fun and good for visual function development. Here are just five suggestions.

1. Ball sports. Sports involving hand-eye coordination will help develop this fine motor skill including eye-tracking function. Consider tennis, badminton, volleyball, or even just tossing a bag of beans back and forth!

2. Walk the plank. Get your struggling learners walking on a beam of wood - or eve just draw a line with chalk on the sidewalk and practice walking on that line without stepping out of it. This exercise helps gross motor skill development also.

3. Easyread Eggi or Tetris. Both of these online games involve sustained periods of practicing following moving objects with the eyes only -- no moving your head!

4. Let's go fly a kite. Without looking into the sun of course (!), tracking a moving object like a kite is good workout for the same eye muscles used in reading.

5. Connect the dots. Dot-to-dot drawing activities are good practice at both visual function skills and writing.

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Sarah Forrest is a Reading Specialist for Oxford Learning Solutions, publishers of the Easyread System - an innovative online program for struggling readers and spellers. 
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