Directional Tracking Improves Reading Skills
How Discover Intensive Phonics Helps
When someone asks us, "How is your vision?", we may respond with something like,
"Great! It's 20/20." What we are essentially answering is simply how clearly we
see things; there is so much more to vision and processing than what we see. "Since
something like 75% to 90% of all a child learns comes to him via
the visual pathways, it stands to reason that if there is any interference
in those pathways, a child will not develop to his maximum potential" (Getz, Donald
J., O.D., "Vision and Perception Therapy," 1973).
One of the most important visual skills is directionality or tracking.
Having our eyes coordinate and turn inward to focus on one task at a time, such
as reading, must be learned. It can be difficult for our eyes if any of these skills
are not automatic, and it will take extra effort on the part of the individuals.
This can be very frustrating and exhausting and will often cause them to need a
break. They will be the ones who stare out the window after reading for a while
or rest their heads on their arms, covering one eye, or they could be the ones who
start to act out due to frustration. These students are often mislabeled as ADD
or even ADHD. All of these important eye processes can be learned. Perceiving the
symbols, and training our eyes to work left to right, which is
a convention of the English language, take practice, time, and, often, methods of
intervention to help.
Directional tracking is an important and an often-neglected, essential tool
in reading. An article by Miscese Gagen, a mother and tutor, explains
perfectly the importance of this skill:
"We read and write English from left-to-right. This left-to-right horizontal arrangement
of print is an essential component of the written English language. Proper directional
tracking is looking at and processing all the letters in order from left-to-right.
Proper directional tracking is essential for reading success."
"For accurate reading, the student must process sounds in order from left-to-right.
Knowing the individual sounds is not sufficient...Correct phonologic processing
requires proper directional tracking."
"You need to directly teach proper directional tracking because scanning left-to-right
in a straight line manner is not a natural process. Instinctively, looking all over
is a superior way to gather and process information. Straight line, left-to-right
processing is one of the arbitrary artificial components of our man made written
English language that the student must learn and automatically apply. Many children
apply the superior natural instincts of looking all over and fail to develop straight
line left-to-right tracking skills that are essential to proficient reading." (Gagen,
Discover Intensive Phonics for Yourself has built-in tools
that help immensely with directional tracking. First, Discover Intensive Phonics for Yourself
teaches consonant and vowel sounds in slides. Slides put a consonant
with a vowel for correct pronunciation by having students slide the sounds from
left-to-right. This is much more effective than teaching ending patterns first,
then going back (working right-to-left) and adding initial phonemes. This is not
the way our eyes need to look at words for fluency. Our eyes must be trained to look
at two, three, or more phonemes with each eye fixation. Slides have them look at
those initial sounds as a unit, which causes an increase in fluency and the ability
to read by simply adding final or ending phonemes. Second, Discover Intensive Phonics
for Yourself has the student mark the word, underneath, from left-to-right.
This helps their eyes track linearly and ensures they are seeing and processing
each sound in the correct order. After learning how to mark words
in this manner, students will eventually transfer this skill to their reading and
"see" the markings in their heads as they read the word left-to-right. It keeps
them working directionally and helps with blending, fluency, and decoding. When
they are able to decode automatically and are fluently working from left-to-right,
comprehension also increases.
Using a finger or a card to move along underneath the words when reading is another
important and helpful tool in directional tracking. In our efforts to help in this
process, we have created a tracking bookmark that isolates the
sentence you are reading, which helps eyes coordinate and process symbols in correct
groupings, without competing visual information from the lines above or below. If
you join us in our campaign to help literacy. Click
here to find out how to link to our site, and then e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
with the URL that you linked to, your name, and address and how many you would like
(limit four per person).
how the Discover Intensive Phonics for Yourself
program can help you or someone
you know become a better reader.