Part 3: Writing as Communication

Once learning has taken place, how do you show what you know? My students demonstrated their learning in the classroom through speaking, teaching another student, acting, drawing, using response cards and playing games. One method used daily in most subjects though was writing. The skill of writing is important on so many levels. It allows us to show what we know and communicate with the world. It’s been said that your brain remembers things better when you write it down. What if the physical and mental act of writing is less than fluid for the participant? We utilized writing for the common worksheet, writing notes, tests, learning cursive, and paragraph writing. Writing a math equation is not surprisingly very different from writing a 3 paragraph essay. In both cases though a student must use their brain to formulate an idea, remember how to form the letters/numbers correctly, how to set up and format the writing to be easily read and understood. 


Common Writing Difficulties

  • Frequently reversing some letters and numbers (ex. Writing b instead of d or 6 instead of 9, or similarly writing 51 instead of 15)
  • Mixing capital and lowercase letters within a word or starting every word with a capital letter
  • Disregarding spacing when writing a paragraph (ex. Writing all words on only 1 side of the page)
  • Writing words in an appropriate size based on the size of the line on the worksheet, lined writing paper, or free writing
  • Setting up the paper correctly with a heading or proper paragraph writing specifications, pencil grip, slanting the page, posture, forming the letters and numbers correctly
  • Brainstorming ideas in their head and being able to write them as sentences


Writing and Vision Therapy

Sometimes I would ask students if they could find which letters or numbers they wrote backwards…some students would notice and fix the mistake, others didn’t seem to think anything was wrong. This could indicate that the visual system has trouble processing and remembering what each letter and number means/how it should look. Many students did not use the space on a paper well. Some would write as if there was no line at all, some wrote on the line, but made their letters so large they would fill up the entire line space. This potential spatial awareness problem as well as others can be addressed with vision therapy.



A patient’s writing BEFORE starting Vision Therapy.

vision therapy writing

That same patient’s writing AFTER finishing Vision Therapy


Part 2: Why Reading is so Important

If there is one area of education that often concerns parents and teachers the most it is reading. We live in a world where being able to read the words on a page clearly and understand what we read is essential to our learning and our future. It’s undeniably a lifelong skill. As a teacher I remember being mystified at times by the few students I had over the years that continued to struggle with reading through the end of third grade. Some students could tell you every single detail about a story if it was read to them, yet couldn’t read on their own. Listening is a very valuable skill, yet so is reading.  We used to say that third grade was a pivotal year for students because they were transitioning from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn.’ This step in independence is not easy for some, especially if the student, teachers, and parents are putting in extra effort to make independent reading happen and something still isn’t clicking. Maybe these issues will go away on their own, but what if they don’t?


Common Reading Difficulties

  • Being able to listen to the story and answer questions about it accurately, but couldn’t read the print themselves
  • Often losing their place when reading, which led to losing their attention easily
  • Skipping words or entire sentences
  • Spending so long trying to read a sentence and make out the words that they had no idea what they just learned
  • Having the ability to make a picture in their head of what is happening in the story
  • Matching the letter or blend to its sound to say words fluently
  • Not being able to find the sentences on the page they volunteered to read aloud



Reading and Vision Therapy

If I had known about vision therapy I would have asked those students a few questions. 

  1. Do the words seem blurry or fuzzy to you? If yes this could be an accommodation problem. This means the eyes are having trouble maintaining clear focus. 
  2. Are the words moving or overlapping? This could be an eye teaming problem which has to do with the eyes working together to monitor spacing and depth. 
  3. Are you having difficulty keeping your place on the page? This may be an eye tracking problem where the eyes cannot maintain focus while moving to read along a page or following something that is moving. 
  4. Can you make a movie of the story in your head? If not, this may be a visual perception problem and this may impact comprehension and retention. 

What if this is how you saw things when attempting to read? Would you enjoy reading? It’s important to understand that a pair of glasses will NOT fix this issue.

 Vision therapy may be the answer.