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Can you read this paragraph?

A strong reader is able to read this paragraph fairly easily for three important reasons:

  1. Phonic decoding is clearly not highly involved. If phonetic decoding was necessary for word recognition as most people seem to believe, you would not be able to read this paragraph. You’d be tripped up by trying to process each word based on the sequence of letters, rather than looking at the word as a whole and understanding what it represents.
  2. As stated in the paragraph, visual recognition of whole words with particular emphasis on the beginning and end of the word is the primary word-recognition method used by strong readers.
  3. Reading fluency depends on our ability to predict what will come next based on the context of the paragraph. Fluency, speed, and reading comprehension typically increase as understanding of the paragraph’s content increases.

Essential reading skills include:

  1. Accurate and efficient eye movement skills
  2. The ability to visually recognize words
  3. Visualization or visual imagery

Decoding doesn’t fall anywhere on this list. And, yet, you’ll recall that this is what children with poor visual skills are stuck trying to do.

You want to be able to create a picture in your mind based on whatever you are reading. In order to do so, you first have to be able to recognize the words that you read, using visual memory. Vision therapy and visual learning in therapy are used to gain these essential skills.