Solving Reading Difficulties Over the Summer
● By Digital Media Director
By Dr. Angela Gulbranson, Visions EyeCare and VisionTherapy Center
Parents often mistakenly assume when a child struggles with reading comprehension, it couldn’t possibly be due to a vision problem. Typically, this is because the child can actually read the text out loud. It may not be read perfectly, but it seems obvious that they have “no problem” seeing the actual letters on the page.
The type of vision problems that interfere with reading and learning are intermittent, which means they are not all the time. Children can read for about 5 minutes or so, but then can’t remember what was read, even though they read it out loud moments ago. Words can move around on the page, double up at first and then look single. While it can be very challenging to read when this happens, one can still read – its comprehension and fluency that suffer.
When a student struggles with reading and learning, it’s important to first rule out the possibility of an eye coordination or eye movement problem. Most vision screenings in school and even at the pediatrician’s office do not test for these visual skills. Vision screenings typically test for how clearly one can see the letters on the eye chart (“20/20”), which is only 1 of 17 visual skills required for reading and learning.
If you can take some time to observe your child when he or she is reading you may find some clues as to what may be wrong. The five most common signs a vision problem may be interfering with your student's academic success are:
Skips lines, re-reads lines
Poor reading comprehension
Reading assignments take longer than they should
Reverses letters like “b” into “d” when reading
Short attention span with
reading & schoolwork
If your child has any of the above symptoms, he or she may have a fully correctable vision problem. Please don’t assume because your child passed their last vision screening that your child does not have a vision problem. If reading is difficult and homework takes longer than it should, be sure your child has all the visual skills required for reading and learning. For more information visit: www.covd.org