When a child has difficulty with reading because he struggles with losing his place, skipping words or lines, recognizing, remembering, or spelling words, or reversing letters, these challenges may indicate an undetected learning-related vision problem. Your child might have visual processing skills deficiencies or underdeveloped eye movement skills, making it difficult to coordinate eye muscles or process visual information correctly and efficiently.
Only a functional vision exam by an optometrist who specializes in developmental vision care can diagnose or rule out a learning-related vision problem. Fortunately, if your child is diagnosed with a learning-related vision problem, vision therapy can help significantly. A comprehensive vision therapy program, complete with intensive vision training by a qualified vision therapist is most effective when supplemented by practice at home.
At the Visual Learning Center in Olney, MD, we encourage the patients in our vision therapy programs to practice a variety of activities at home.
Today, we have two activities involving ‘sight words’ to introduce you to. The first is a tracking activity and the second is a sight words word search. The tracking activity packet uses sight words and is designed to develop and strengthen not only spelling skills but also eye movement skills and visual processing skills in the areas of ‘figure ground’ and ‘figure concentration.’
Watch the video to learn more and view a demonstration:
Download your tracking packet HERE.
The tracking packet is broken up into varying levels of difficulty and is appropriate for beginning and remedial readers. Level one is the easiest, and each activity asks the child to spell a word, starting on the first row, going from left to right, as if we were reading, we find and circle the letters of the word in the proper sequence and record the time it takes.
If necessary, the person doing the activity can use a finger to keep his or her place, but only up to level 3, by which point the patient should be tracking only with the eyes.
The goal of practicing with the tracking packet is to increase the speed it takes to go through each activity, and do so without errors from skipping a letter or missing the target word.
The word search activity is more challenging and is also broken down by level of difficulty. In beginning levels, you see words that are used more frequently in printed materials than later levels. You can add a timer as an element to increase difficulty.