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Visual Motor Skills
Scaffolding Students to Reading
Success
You gotta see it to read it.
 Teaching reading is relatively simple for about 50 to 75%
of students.
 It can become very...
Personal Perspective
Several factors led me to investigate this issue:
 I am a strong teacher of reading but some student...
What the Vision Therapist Did
 Pencil pulls and push ups
 Mazes and word finds
 Develop correct cursive formation
 Lef...
Historical Perspective
 JAMES HINSELWOOD, in 1895, investigated why people could
not learn to read. He coined the phrase ...
Current Research Studies
Research shows:Research shows:
 A clear relationship between visual motor skills dyslexiaA clear...
Visual Skills Needed to Read
 accomodationaccomodation: focus near to far point: focus near to far point (requires(requir...
Signs of Poor Visual Skills
Have you ever noticed students who…
… lose their place or skip words or letters?
… use a finge...
More Signs
… fatigue easily when reading (yawn a lot)?
… cover one eye while reading or turn their face to
occlude one eye...
Classroom Strategies
 Careful left to right letter formation with attention toCareful left to right letter formation with...
More Strategies
 Mazes, word finds, writing large figure 8s at eye levelMazes, word finds, writing large figure 8s at eye...
Why Handwriting?
 I came to realize when I was helping students read, they were
not always seeing what I thought they wer...
Case Study
2014 - 2015
 Developing phonemic awareness
and fluency through developing
cursive with attention to phonics
Methods
 7 students, 30 minutes per day, Guided practice
using correct left to right letter formation while saying
the so...
ResultsStudent 1: Miscues dropped from 40/100 to 3/100
Fluency increased from 13 wpm to 121 wpm
Reading level increased fr...
Results Continued
Student 4: Miscues decreased from 50/100 to 15/100
Fluency increased from 12wpm to 127wpm
Reading level ...
Current Work in My Classroom
 Skip count while tossing tennis balls. All students should throw
and catch a ball each day....
Results
 9 Students in 2 classes were given specific phonetic
instruction using correct letter formation with sound
assoc...
Research to Support
Development of Cursive Skills
 Automatic production of letters is one of the most
important predictor...
Writing to Reading Research
 RESEARCH SUPPORTING THE IMPORTANCE OF TEACHING CORRECT LEFT TO
RIGHT LETTER FORMATION
 Kari...
 IMPLICATIONS:
 Writing and learning to form letters correctly helps children to recognize letters
more efficiently. Whe...
Now what?
 Awareness
 Teachers should know the signs
 Workshops
 Train teachers and other professionals to recognize a...
For those who want to ensure
future success for all students
Contact your representatives
3 states have visual motor
scre...
Contact information
 Mary Joachim Huber
 Joachim.Huber@spps.org
 763-807-1146
 5th
grade at Farnsworth Aerospace Magnet
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ProfConf2016Developing VMSystem for Reading.

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ProfConf2016Developing VMSystem for Reading.

  1. 1. Visual Motor Skills Scaffolding Students to Reading Success
  2. 2. You gotta see it to read it.  Teaching reading is relatively simple for about 50 to 75% of students.  It can become very confusing when undetermined factors play a part.  When a student’s visual motor skills are not functioning as well as they should be, problems with reading can be frustrating.  As classroom teachers we can help students overcome these problems IF we recognize the problem and teach students strategies to improve visual skills.
  3. 3. Personal Perspective Several factors led me to investigate this issue:  I am a strong teacher of reading but some students made little progress no matter how much effort they put in to applying decoding and comprehension strategies.  My dad was a 7th grade Reading Lab teacher in the 70’s. He was unusually successful getting kids to read at grade level in one year. Among other techniques, he used eye exercises and developing writing skills.  Kelsey (my daughter) could not learn to read despite loving being read to from the time she was little. She could track 2 directions simultaneously. After one year of vision therapy (eye exercises) her reading improved 4 grade levels that year.
  4. 4. What the Vision Therapist Did  Pencil pulls and push ups  Mazes and word finds  Develop correct cursive formation  Left to right awareness activities  Calling out letters on a ball while hitting it back and forth with a partner  Following moving objects with eyes  Near to far point reading  Activities involving specialized equipment
  5. 5. Historical Perspective  JAMES HINSELWOOD, in 1895, investigated why people could not learn to read. He coined the phrase “word blindness”. He also documented reversals and word & line skipping.  A.M. SKEFFINGTON an Optometrist in the 1920s, developed eye exercises which improved peoples’ ability to learn to read.  SAMUEL ORTON, in 1925, built on Hinselwood’s work. He renamed “word blindness” “strephosymbolia” (later renamed dyslexia). He developed a structured, sequential, multi-sensory approach to teaching reading, including meticulous attention to left to right letter formation and sound association. He teamed with Anne Gillingham to implement the Orton-Gillingham system for teaching reading. Orton’s method has been successful in correcting not only visual, but auditory and neuro processing problems as well. Using eye exercises to help prepare people to read is not New:
  6. 6. Current Research Studies Research shows:Research shows:  A clear relationship between visual motor skills dyslexiaA clear relationship between visual motor skills dyslexia and reading test scoresand reading test scores.. Zaba, 2003; Taylor, 2006; Getman, 2001;Zaba, 2003; Taylor, 2006; Getman, 2001; Kulp, 1996; Solan, 2003; Maples, 2003; Facoetti, 2000; Marzola, 2000;Kulp, 1996; Solan, 2003; Maples, 2003; Facoetti, 2000; Marzola, 2000; Atzmon, 1993; Eden, Stein, Wood, 1995.Atzmon, 1993; Eden, Stein, Wood, 1995.  Eye exercises improve visual skills.Eye exercises improve visual skills. Zaba, 2003; Brodney et al,Zaba, 2003; Brodney et al, 2001.2001.  25% of students tested at random have poor visual motor25% of students tested at random have poor visual motor skillsskills (Gillespie, 2001; Maples, 2003)(Gillespie, 2001; Maples, 2003)  In high poverty areas as high as 50% of students haveIn high poverty areas as high as 50% of students have been shown to have poor visual motor skillsbeen shown to have poor visual motor skills (Gillespie, 2001)(Gillespie, 2001)  70% of juvenile delinquent populations have poor visual70% of juvenile delinquent populations have poor visual motor skillsmotor skills (Gillespie, 2001)(Gillespie, 2001)  Poor visual motor skills are 7 times more accuratePoor visual motor skills are 7 times more accurate predictor of poor reading scores than poverty or race.predictor of poor reading scores than poverty or race. (Maples, 2003)(Maples, 2003)  Even when visual motor problems are detected, parentsEven when visual motor problems are detected, parents in high poverty areas do not follow through to get theirin high poverty areas do not follow through to get their children the help neededchildren the help needed.. (Gillespie, 2001)(Gillespie, 2001)
  7. 7. Visual Skills Needed to Read  accomodationaccomodation: focus near to far point: focus near to far point (requires(requires lense flexibility.)lense flexibility.)  teamingteaming: both eyes working together (: both eyes working together (Seeing theSeeing the same thing at the same time.)same thing at the same time.)  trackingtracking: following a line of print smoothly: following a line of print smoothly  convergenceconvergence: both eyes moving to the center: both eyes moving to the center  sacaadssacaads: jumps from one chunk of print to the: jumps from one chunk of print to the next without getting confusednext without getting confused  foreground and backgroundforeground and background: pick out figures: pick out figures from background or foregroundfrom background or foreground  visual memory:visual memory: ability to remember thingsability to remember things seen such as symbols for letter soundsseen such as symbols for letter sounds
  8. 8. Signs of Poor Visual Skills Have you ever noticed students who… … lose their place or skip words or letters? … use a finger to track? … use sounds that are not in the word? … reverse similar letters or words? … know letters individually but seem to forget them in the text? … start out reading smoothly but increase miscues after a few minutes of reading? … have poor writing and letter formation? … have trouble keeping writing on the lines and trouble closing letters?
  9. 9. More Signs … fatigue easily when reading (yawn a lot)? … cover one eye while reading or turn their face to occlude one eye? … move their body or book to see the page better? … look ADHD when engaged in reading or writing tasks but not at other times? … get headaches while reading? … complain that the page looks funny? … are successful readers but cannot sustain reading for more than 10 or 20 minutes (get off task frequently due to being “tired”)? … One CAUSE of these symptoms can be poor visual motor skills
  10. 10. Classroom Strategies  Careful left to right letter formation with attention toCareful left to right letter formation with attention to hitting lines and closing letters in manuscript (k-2) &hitting lines and closing letters in manuscript (k-2) & cursive (3+) (tracking & teaming)cursive (3+) (tracking & teaming)  Students who struggle to apply phonics whileStudents who struggle to apply phonics while decoding should be saying the sounds of thedecoding should be saying the sounds of the phonemes out loud while they form the letters (Letterphonemes out loud while they form the letters (Letter sound association) This strengthens Visual Memorysound association) This strengthens Visual Memory (Edwards, 2003; James&Atwood, 2009; James &(Edwards, 2003; James&Atwood, 2009; James & Engelhardt, 2013)Engelhardt, 2013)  Far to near point copying (board to paper)Far to near point copying (board to paper)  Eye exercises such as pencil tracking and pencil pull.Eye exercises such as pencil tracking and pencil pull. (See(See www.eyecanlearn.comwww.eyecanlearn.com for other activities thatfor other activities that help)help) What can reading teachers do?
  11. 11. More Strategies  Mazes, word finds, writing large figure 8s at eye levelMazes, word finds, writing large figure 8s at eye level on a white board or mirror (tracking & teaming)on a white board or mirror (tracking & teaming)  Activity books with hidden pictures (visual memory &Activity books with hidden pictures (visual memory & discrimination)discrimination)  Developing drawing skills (tracking & teaming)Developing drawing skills (tracking & teaming)  Balancing activitiesBalancing activities  Left to right awareness activitiesLeft to right awareness activities  Copying from book to page accurately (lenseCopying from book to page accurately (lense flexibility)flexibility)  Playing catch while calling out letter on a ball forPlaying catch while calling out letter on a ball for Kindergarten and first grade and even older (lenseKindergarten and first grade and even older (lense flexibility)flexibility)
  12. 12. Why Handwriting?  I came to realize when I was helping students read, they were not always seeing what I thought they were seeing. Therefore handwriting can be a critical piece to make sure the eyes and brain are working together; seeing what you as the teacher and they as the learner actually think they are seeing. The hand acts as a clear target connecting the eyes with the brain. If students cannot touch the lines with their handwriting, cannot close their letters, cannot form their letters evenly, they may be having a hard time actually seeing the lines accurately. Developing their handwriting will help them see the lines more accurately and help improve their tracking and teaming. The latest research is showing a strong connection between actually physically forming the letters and words and learning them.
  13. 13. Case Study 2014 - 2015  Developing phonemic awareness and fluency through developing cursive with attention to phonics
  14. 14. Methods  7 students, 30 minutes per day, Guided practice using correct left to right letter formation while saying the sounds of the phonemes formed (Orton/Gillingham)  All students, 20 min. per day whole class cursive instruction, required cursive on written assignments, 1st 4 months of 5th grade.  All students. Small group in class instruction on comprehension and decoding strategies.
  15. 15. ResultsStudent 1: Miscues dropped from 40/100 to 3/100 Fluency increased from 13 wpm to 121 wpm Reading level increased from 5.0 to 6.0 Letter/Sound Correspondence increase: 13 - 43 Student 2: Miscues dropped from 50/100 to 10/100 Fluency increased from 45wpm(due to miscues ) to 98wpm Reading level increased from 2.3 to 3.4 Letter/Sound Correspondence increase 25 - 43 Student 3: Miscues dropped from 30/100 to 5/100 Fluency increased from 72wpm to 108wpm Reading level increased from 2.0 to 4.5 Letter/Sound Correspondence increase 3 - 30
  16. 16. Results Continued Student 4: Miscues decreased from 50/100 to 15/100 Fluency increased from 12wpm to 127wpm Reading level increased from Level 2.0 to level 3.5 Letter/Sound Correspondence increase 1 – 37(I concluded the study in early may, by June he was reading 5th grade.) Student 5: Miscues decreased from 30/100 to 7/100 Fluency increased from 58wpm to 69wpm Reading level increased from Level 2.0 to level 3.1 Letter/Sound Correspondence increase 16 - 34 Student 6: Miscues decreased from 50/100 to 20/100 Fluency increased from 18wpm to 54wpm Reading level increased from Level PP to level 3 Letter/Sound Correspondence increase 13 - 43
  17. 17. Current Work in My Classroom  Skip count while tossing tennis balls. All students should throw and catch a ball each day.  Develop cursive to automaticity with guided & independent practice. (Whole class)  For students with severe decoding difficulties, use of eye exercises and particular attention to correct left to right letter formation with sound association, developing cursive.  Test students in Sept for phonemic awareness(MONDO test works) Students who are doing poorly, are put in a special group(green folder group in my class) They get 1 – 4 to one work on correct letter formation with sound association 3-5 days per week.  2016 Green folder group in my classroom, 5 days per w from January – June. five students in group 1. Three students in group 2.
  18. 18. Results  9 Students in 2 classes were given specific phonetic instruction using correct letter formation with sound association 4 – 5 days per week 10 minutes per day.  The average gain on their MCAs was 11 points. The highest gain was 29 points the lowest was -1 by 2 students.  The gains were: 29, 9, 18, 15 20 -1, -1, 0, 15 points gain on the MCA.  1 student moved up 3 years in class IRL. 6 of the nine students moved up 2 years and 2 students moved up one year.
  19. 19. Research to Support Development of Cursive Skills  Automatic production of letters is one of the most important predictors of compositional skills and academic success. (Berninger et al., 2006)  Writing activates neural specialization for letters. (James & Atwood, 2009)  Forming letters by hand improved pre-literate children’s ability to learn the letters. (James & Engelhardt, 2013)  Regular direct instruction in handwriting results in stronger academic skills. (Baker, 2003; Berninger, 2007)  When students struggle to remember letters, having them name the sounds as they form the letters helped with later retrieval. (Edwards, 2003)  Even at the college level, handwriting skills predict the level of academic success. (Peverly, 2006)
  20. 20. Writing to Reading Research  RESEARCH SUPPORTING THE IMPORTANCE OF TEACHING CORRECT LEFT TO RIGHT LETTER FORMATION  Karin James/Thea Atwood 2006: The Role of Sensorimotor Learning in the Perception of Letter-like Forms: Tracking the causes of neural specialization for letters. Karin James and Thea Atwood 2008; Psychology Press  “The functional specialization for letters may be caused by the way that we learn to recognize letters and, more specifically that specialization for letters may reflect the sensorimotor integration that is required when we learn to write letters” (James & Gauthier, 2006; Longcamp et al, 2003)  Sensorimotor experience in the form of learning to print and write letters allows the interplay between motor production and visual perception to broaden the stored representation of letters. That is, motor construction of forms may lead to motor programs that are stored with visual information.  p. 4 “ Babock & Freyd 1988, Freyd 1983 found that the way a subject is taught to write a letter-like symbol directly affects their subsequent recognition of that symbol. In addition, writing experience can alter the perception of movement illusion in written symbols. (Tse & Cavenagh. 2000) and knowledge of cursive stroke direction affects anticipated letter identity* (Orleaguet, Kandel & Bois 1997) Longcamp et al (2005b) demonstrated that children recognize letters more efficiently after being trained to print letters versus being trained to type them. Forming the letters by hand creates the visual recognition.  (*I found this to be significant when teaching students letter sound association. Students would start to say the sound correctly when they formed it, at times suddenly recognizing the sound which was triggered by the letter formation.)
  21. 21.  IMPLICATIONS:  Writing and learning to form letters correctly helps children to recognize letters more efficiently. When teaching students to correctly form their letters, left to right, teach them to say the sounds as they form the letters. The research is showing that correct left to right letter formation develops more efficiency with knowing the sounds. Orton and Gillingham knew this in the 1930s when they developed methods for teaching dyslexics to read. They discovered that a meticulous left to right letter and phoneme formation with sound association improves efficiency of recognizing letters on a page of print.  Eye exercises were invented by an optometrist in the 1920s. Pencil tracking and pencil pushups are the basic beginning for doing eye exercises: Skeffington, 1925  Left to right movement with awareness of left and right side of the body to develop a sense of left and right will help students differentiate b, d, p, q, g (printed g is very similar to q) and other similar letters. All movement helps. Balancing and cross body exercises help light up the brain.  Catching balls develops visual skills and eye hand coordination.  Writing a large figure 8 on the board or on a window or mirror will help develop correct eye movement. Word finds and mazes as well. Do the mazes visually with an eraser show your partner the solution. Race your partner.  Copying from the board to the paper or a book to the paper develops lense flexibility.
  22. 22. Now what?  Awareness  Teachers should know the signs  Workshops  Train teachers and other professionals to recognize and ameliorate poor visual motor skills  Train first through fifth grade teachers how to teach students correct letter formation. Also train teachers the amount of follow through needed to insure students gain automaticity in their writing.  Strategies  Develop printing and handwriting skills to automaticity with correct left to right letter formation  Far to near point copying (from board to paper to develop lense flexiblity)  Mazes, word finds, drawing  Pencil tracking and pencil push-ups
  23. 23. For those who want to ensure future success for all students Contact your representatives 3 states have visual motor screening laws 25%-50% of students will continue to struggle with correctable difficulties until we find a way to help them.
  24. 24. Contact information  Mary Joachim Huber  Joachim.Huber@spps.org  763-807-1146  5th grade at Farnsworth Aerospace Magnet

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