Summer: Good Time to Improve Reading

Summer can be an ideal time for your children to practice reading by choosing books that interest them.

This is just one suggestion by Dr. Rick Graebe, a behavioral optometrist and Vision Therapy specialist in Versailles. Other ways to help your child include:

Read for fun.
Whether it’s comic books or picture books, find ones your child enjoys.

Fun topics can be cars, animals, sports, fantasy, vampires, wizards, whatever grabs your child’s attention.

The important thing is that your child is reading, so don’t be judgmental about the subject.

Read along with your child.
You read a page, then she reads a page. This way you can share the experience with your child and discuss the content of the book.

By making reading a social activity, your child is more likely to view it as a positive experience.

Have your child hold the book when reading.
Through proprioception (the integration of the body’s senses), your body develops awareness of the book through touch.

This helps your child know where the book is in space and where to point and focus her eyes.

Play games.
Games like I Spy, Simon Says, mazes, word searches and Where’s Waldo can promote the development of your child’s visual spatial skills and visual reasoning.

Go outside.
Outside play helps your child develop balance and coordination, which are crucial in learning to stabilize the body.

This is important in reading, according to Dr. Graebe.

“Imagine trying to read a book while bouncing on a trampoline,” he says. “You have to be stabilized to read.”

Outside play also encourages creativity and imagination. As children play make-believe, they learn how to think, reason and problem-solve.

This helps teach children how to process information, a key skill in reading.

If, however, your child needs more than practice, perhaps Vision Therapy – a kind of physical therapy for the eyes, brain and body – can help.

Vision Therapy can improve visual efficiency, visual processing and sensory integration.

A series of tests can determine if your child is a candidate for the program.

“Vision Therapy is not for everyone, but if a person’s visual system is under-performing, then Vision Therapy can make dramatic improvements in performance.”