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Visual discrimination in reading and writing.

Posted in: Blog | January 5, 2021

‘A knowledge of letter names is a predictor of learning to read’. (Jean Noel Foulin) It is essential that children recognise that each letter has more than one graphic shape, namely in upper and lower-case letter form, and that each letter has a name and a sound. For example, D d, duh, Dee. They also need to distinguish between different letters, e.g. Reads b as p. This will lead to reading ‘pat’ instead of ‘bat.’ Some young children with poor visual discrimination skills may struggle to match socks, clothing etc. They can find it difficult to differentiate between b/d b/p 5/s won’t /want car/cat. ‘Spot the difference’ activities may be difficult to complete. We can help develop and strengthen these skills by playing sorting and matching games, picture lotto and graphing games. (The child looks at the object then places it in the correct place on the graph according to colour and content of the picture.) Another useful activity is ‘I can see…’ and describe an object in the room. This helps the child to learn how to discriminate from objects in the foreground, an essential skill in reading. Jigsaw puzzles, sorting 1p pieces from a pile of 1 and 2p pieces, finding only the blue beads from a jar of multicoloured beads. Helps develop visual dos from babies, through toddlers and pre-schoolers, we can help children become discriminating visualisers through games. Naming colours when passing toys to babies, helping pre-schoolers recognise that ‘Cat’ is the same word as ‘cat’, despite one beginning with an upper-case letter, and one a lower, makes learning fun and reinforces their visual understanding. When teaching shapes, let the children physically feel the shapes as well as observing them. They can learn so much from the tactile experience. When we begin to read, we segment the words (read one letter/sound at a time) them blend them e.g. C-a-t is cat.

Once they have mastered these skills, they need to improve their reading speed. Visual closure, allows children to recognise whole words when they have only seen the start of the word. This is needed to enable reading at speed. Some useful and fun activities are; partially cover an object, toy, part of a picture or puzzle, and ask the child hat they think it might be. Cut out half of a simple picture from a magazine. Stick it Ono a piece of card and encourage your child to complete the other half by drawing it. The best way to get your child to enjoy reading, and have the confidence and desire to read themselves, is through reading to them. Let them follow your finger as It passes below the words you are reading. This helps them see the spaces I between the words, and the shapes of the words themselves. This aids visual discrimination, and helps develop future good reading ability.