Skipping The Lines: Visual Tracking While Reading

Enrichment Therapies

January 23, 2017

Does your student demonstrate frequent loss of place during reading, skipping lines, skipping or substituting words during reading, finger-pointing during reading, and/or slow reading speed? They may be having difficulties with visual tracking!  In order to use our vision efficiently, the eyes must move quickly and accurately from one place to another (i.e., from one word to another or one line to the next). Students with tracking problems may have slow/inaccurate eye movements or require head or finger movement to help the eyes track. This can interfere with reading fluency, reading comprehension, and handwriting. If your child is having difficulties keeping their place while reading, here is a fun activity for you to try:

  • Materials Needed: Visual Tracking Paragraphs
    • ABC Tracking:
        • Time this activity.
        • Have your child put a penny beside the paper on the same side that he writes.
        • This penny will be the “home base” to rest his hand so he doesn’t use the pencil or his fingers to track. We want him to rely only on his eyes to track.
        • He will start at the top of one of the paragraphs and circle each letter starting with “a”, then “b” then “c” and moving all the way to “z.”
        • If you notice him moving his head, place something like a bean bag or quarter on his head to encourage him to keep his head still. Remember, we want him to only track with his eyes.
        • After he circles each individual letter he should return his hand to the “home base.” When he finds the next letter he can remove his hand from the home base to circle the letter, and then return.
        • See how fast he can go!
  • Line tracking: 
    • A quick exercise to increase accuracy in tracking from line to line is to have the students start at the top of any paragraph and state the first and last letter of each line as quickly as possible.

Work on building your child’s visual tracking strength by consistently working on these two activities. Have fun!

If you are concerned about your child’s visual tracking or reading fluency skills give us a call to discuss how we can help!

Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs.  At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success.  Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.

740 Community Drive, Unit A

North Liberty, IA 52317


5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300

Johnston, IA 50131


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