When was the last time you consciously thought about the cognitive skill of visual discrimination? Was it the time you tried to put your key into that other white car in the parking lot? It sure looked a heck of a lot like yours, didn’t it? Wait. What? Oh, right. That was me.
If all is well, we tend not to put much thought into visual discrimination. Doesn’t this essential visual processing skill just magically develop on its own?
After all, as infants we learn that the furry face with the pointy ears on top likes to purr and cuddle while the other furry face with the floppy ears likes to give sloppy wet kisses instead. An easy distinction.
As toddlers we learn that walking around wearing one blue sock and one green sock makes people giggle at us. Clearly not all socks are created equal. Another easy distinction.
Then along comes the whole discriminating between letters thing. Hello letters p, q, and g. Why do you all look so darned alike? A strong visual processing foundation must already be in place if reading is ever to be easy and enjoyable.
How do we build this strong visual foundation?
Specifically referring to visual discrimination, we provide activities like:
- matching and memory matching games
- same/different exercises
- identifying which image or object in a group doesn’t belong
I believe that proactively helping children build a strong foundation for learning is important to do before any reading struggles begin. That said, if a child does struggle with visual discrimination, going back to build this critical skill is not only helpful but essential in order to develop reading strength and confidence.
And, because confident readers have a better chance at becoming confident kids, I’d like to share with you some printable learning materials that support students in this area, struggling reader or not.
Initially designed to reinforce visual tracking skills, these fun activities serve as great visual discrimination boosters, too. The links below will tell you more about each. Ideal for students in grades 1 and 2 as well as older students who could use an extra boost. Adaptable to most skill levels.
Word Play is another fun activity designed specifically for visual discrimination.