Eye exercises to improve reading

We can’t escape modern technology and today’s indoor lifestyle and the increased use of digital screens has resulted in visual skill deficits in many children. 

How do I know my child has poor eye movement skills?

  • A child moves their head excessively when reading.
  • Skipping lines frequently when reading.
  • Omitting words frequently when reading.
  • Prefers to read with finger or marker.
  • Poor comprehension.
  • Avoids reading.
Eye movements can be improved with the following visual activities:
Thumb rotations

  • Stand or sit in a balanced and relaxed position.
  • Hold out your hand with the elbow slightly bent, finger gently clenched, thumb erect upward.
  • Look at the thumbnail with both eyes open.
  • Rotate your arm smoothly in a big clockwise direction and have your eyes follow by looking at your thumbnail.
  • Repeat in an anti-clockwise direction.
Frisbee game

  • Instruct your child to hold a Frisbee with both hands. Place a marble inside the Frisbee and let your child move it at a reasonable speed in a circle.
  • If this is too difficult, you can turn the Frisbee so that the marble moves smoothly in a circle.
  • The child follows the marble with his/her eyes.
  • Discourage head movements.

Magazine exercise

  • Instruct your child to look at a page a magazine in front of them. Choose a page with a lot of text.
  • Start at the top row on the left. The child must scan the lines from left to right, trying to find and circle as many words as you can that start with “ b�? .
  • Remind your child to keep their head still, only the eyes should move. 
  • When you have done that, repeat with other letters i.e. d, p, q, etc.

First & Last

  • Instruct your child to hold any reading material comfortably in both hands or place flat on the desk.
  • Starting at the upper left corner, read the first and the last letter of each line.
  • Repeat this by reading the first and the last word.
  • Try this aloud and silently.
  • Vary the procedure by moving the book in various patterns (circles, diagonals, in and out).
  • Increase the difficulty by reading to the rhythm of clapping hands or a metronome.

Other Fun Activities

  • Outdoor ball activities are excellent for the development of visual skills. 
  • Word searches and “Where’s Wally�? books encourage tracking and are a fun way to encourage the love of books. 

You might want to read more about eye exams for children