As promised, a quick post on visual discrimination, as mentioned in the earlier post when I told you about the launch of Colour Code.
The shortest way to describe visual discrimination is to say that it is the ability to look and see the similarities and differences between things. This involves visual ananlysis (breaking something up into its parts) and visual synthesis (putting it back together again) and then coming to a conclusion about it.
This is an important requirement for reading. To illustrate this, have a look at the following pairs of letters:
All of these letter pairs have simmilariteis in shape, and a child will only be able to distinguish between them if he/she has had ample opportunity to develop visual discrimination. Waiting for the child to be of reading age to practice and hone this skill, will be too late. Good pre-reading excercises would be to spot the differences in pictures!
A product which encourages visual discrimination through pictures, is Same Different. The game consists of four playing boards, each with a set of twelve matching picture cards, and a transparent control sheet. The simplest way of playing is to give the child a playing board and its picture cards, and have him place the correct card on top of the appropriate picture on the board. Mom or teacher can quickly check for accuracy by using the control sheet.
Or turn it into a team game: give each team a board and its cards. One player shields the board from her team mates and starting with the picture in the top left hand corner, asks them for the corresponding card by using descriptive language. The rest of the team has to listen very carefully and watch closely, as the differences on the cards are subtle. They are also not allowed to ask questions! When both teams have covered their boards in cards, Mom or teacher uses the control sheet to add up the score. The team with the most correct matches, wins!
Another game that practices vocabulary, listening skills and visual discrimination, is I SPY. Each team receives a playing board that contains a wealth of visual information through very detailed illustrations. A grid divides the board into 6 rectangles. Players spin the spinner and has to quickly find something on their board that starts with the letter on the spinner. The first team to spot such an item, places a card on top of the appropriate rectangle in the grid, and gets another go at spinning . The first team to cover their enitre board, wins!
Off course, Colour code (see previous post) is an excellent tool for practicing visual discrimination, from pre-school to 99!