Some of you may have tried the “Can My Child Really Read Challenge” I posted at: https://highfiveliteracy.com/2016/09/22/can-my-child-really-read/.
In that blog, I mentioned that strong readers are able to read isolated words standing alone, while struggling readers might guess or confuse words. Some words are frequently confused by even the strongest readers. For example, a word such as “thorough” will sometimes be read as “through,” “though,” or “thought.” Even with contextual clues, the word “thorough” can be misread; although this is less likely when it appears within a sentence where a reader can self-correct based on the surrounding words or thoughts.
Try it now – “The police officers performed a thorough investigation at the crime scene.” Even if the reader does not know the meaning of “thorough,” the sentence carries a lot of meaning.
Strong readers can read isolated words by sounding out and recalling a familiar word.
But what if you try this experiment and realize that while your child can read words individually, she cannot read the same words smoothly when placed in passages? What is that information telling you?
When your child has no apparent problems with decoding and can identify words in isolation, but cannot read those same words easily in a passage, it could be a visual tracking problem. What happens if an index card is placed under a line of text? Is your child able to read better? By blocking out other words on the page, is she more comfortable? Is it easier to read shorter lines of text than longer lines?
If a child has difficulty with visual tracking, you might notice reduced fluency when reading aloud. You might also notice your child skipping lines of text when her eyes need to sweep back to begin a new line. Does your child move her whole head instead of just the eyes moving from left to right? Do you see your child tilting her head to read in an awkward posture, almost looking as though she is napping while reading? Does your child point to each word? These are just some of the more noticeable signs of a visual tracking problem that could be holding your child back if phonics is not the root cause.
Faith Borkowsky, Owner and Lead Educational Consultant of High Five Literacy and Academic Coaching, is Orton-Gillingham trained and Wilson Certified, and has extensive training and experience in a number of other research-based, peer-reviewed programs that have produced positive gains for students with dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, ADD/ADHD, and a host of learning difficulties.
High Five Literacy and Academic Coaching is located in Plainview, Long Island. Read about what we can offer you and your child: http://highfiveliteracy.com.
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