Reading is a complex process that requires the brain to perform a number of functions in a short amount of time. Processing visual information is a large component of reading, and a reader must be able to accurately aim and focus the eyes on a line of print. Eye exercises such as jumps can help improve participants’ control over their eyes and help make reading easier.
How Visual Jumps Help
In order to visually process words on a page, the eyes must be able to rapidly move and focus on new locations. This rapid movement is called saccades. If an individual can make saccades that are accurate and efficient, then following a line of text is an easy task. Jumps are a visual exercise that help hone the eye’s ability to make saccades by training the eyes to carefully follow a moving object.
During a visual jump exercise, the goal is to watch an object or figure that is moving or “jumping” around. This can be done using objects that are moved by another person or with a computer program. It is important that only the eyes, and not the head, are moved during the exercise. An inability to follow the object without moving one’s head may be an indication of a problem with the oculomotor system.
Another visual jump exercise that can be used to improve saccadic eye movements is to visually jump between objects that are near and far. Participants can hold an object, such as a pencil, close to their faces at eye level. Next, participants practice focusing both eyes on the pencil before shifting to an object in the distance. The shift between objects should be completed as quickly as possible.
At The Literacy and Language Center, we specialize in helping children learn to read through a variety of techniques that are focused on visualization and comprehension. To learn more, call The Literacy and Language Center today at (415) 242-1205.