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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.