So you may have come across this page because you have a child who has difficulty with visual tracking, you're an early childhood professional who has noticed changes in children's visual tracking skills over the years, or you are finding it challenging engaging some of your students with their reading.
Visual tracking refers to the ability of the eyes to be able to move from left to right and up and down - to follow the movement of a moving object (ball, other children, kite) or maintain focus of the eyes on a stationary object (book).
We use visual tracking to move our eyes from left to right while reading. We also use visual tracking when watching cars drive past or when throwing and catching a ball.
With the introduction of technology children are spending less time practicing their visual tracking skills outside while playing basketball and backyard cricket.
As a result, many children are finding it difficult with reading and hand-eye coordination. Our role as educators is to bridge this gap using fun activities that are engaging and therapeutic.
We need visual tracking to read, navigate through busy crowds, avoid knocking into our friends in the playground, putting our toys away in different boxes and containers, picking up small objects.
We can improve visual tracking for preschool aged children by:
1 – Playing spot the difference games
2 – Finding objects in a tray of sand/rice/water
3 – Playing with a torch around the room and following the torch with our eyes (with our head still as well as with our head moving)
4 – Drawing big shapes and letters (large shoulder movements) on a large piece of butchers paper
5 – Throwing a ball back and forth in different directions (high, low, left, right)
6 - Going on a treasure hunt to find 5 to 10 different objects
7 - Play with moving puppets to encourage children to watch and follow the movement of the puppet
8 - Engage with soft toys like teddy bears while swinging on the swing to practice focusing the eye muscles while the body is gently moving back and forth
For primary school aged children who are easily distracted, use a small torch or infrared light and get the children to point the light to the characters, activities, themes of the book. The goal here is to make reading engaging and fun rather than stressful.
Fun visual tracking activities for primary school aged children include:
* Throwing a soft ball at different sight word flashcards on the wall
* Jumping in to large chalk drawn shapes on the concrete
* Tapping a hanging ball or balloon from the ceiling with a pool noodle