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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Body is Key to Reading

There is more to reading success than meets the eye

Of course eye teaming, smooth eye pursuit across the midline, and visual accommodation near and far are important to reading success. Often overlooked is the body’s role in reading. For example, having good muscle tone in the core and leg muscles needed to sit still… integration of primary reflexes ATNR, and STNR allowing steady focus when the body or neck is moved… body awareness including a sense of laterality and directionality, allowing readers to distinguish between a ‘p’ and ‘q’ and ‘m’ and ‘w’ so ‘mom’ doesn’t become ‘wow’… and having a mature vestibular system unifying visual acuity, auditory discrimination and body-in-space skills.

How does one strengthen all of these body systems to assure reading success? Repetitive movement! Ample running, skipping, spinning, rowing, throwing, catching and other vibrant movement activities are essential.

Daily physical education with a focus on body awareness and movement exploration is a must to help young children mature all of the body brain systems involved with successful reading.

Not helping children mature their body brain networks will result in reading delays, dyslexia, and other challenges and learning disabilities we often hand over to Special Ed. Read Physical Activities for Improving Children's Learning and Behavior by Billye Ann Cheatum and Allison A. Hammond available from Human Kinetics for in depth understaning.

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