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January 04, 2022

Visual Scanning Activities

Learning to read is some of the biggest work that is happening for a couple of my kids right now. Reading has not been something that has come easy for everyone - remember Montessori is not a race to create young readers - so it's been interesting watching their paths unfold. One that that has really struck me about the reading process is how much physical development influences the reading process. Reading is not all sound games, and phonetic awareness but involves a host of other skills as well. 

That's one reason I've fallen deeper and deeper in love with Montessori as an educational method (and obviously as a basis for our parenting) because these other "softer skills" are naturally incorporated into the classroom - often through the sensorial materials. One particular area that has been a huge interest in our home lately has been visual scanning activities. For Gus, in particular, a lot of the work he chooses to do has been work that incorporates eye strength and stamina. 

This is important because our children's eyes need to be able to move fluidly from left-to-right as they start to read. The more practice they have at visual scanning, the less "work" they have to spend on it while reading and the more they can focus on the actual words. 

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For Gus, at 5-years-old, this is not something we are pushing on him, but something I have noticed him naturally being drawn to. Having these opportunities in your home can be a fun and easy way to support reading development. Here are a few activities he enjoys that help to focus on this skill:


A lot of his work comes from playing games with a strong visual element. Games that involve looking, hunting, or scanning pictures as part of the game play. Some favorites include:


Another fun way that Gus has really worked on this skill is through books. He loves books that are visually interesting and meant for looking and searching. Some favorites include: 

Activity Books

Gus is also a kid that loves to do paper-type work. While I'm not a fan of coloring books generally, some activity books that have a more directed purpose have been a really big hit here. Some favorites include:
This is just one step in his journey toward reading and these are just a few possible ideas that might work for a child. Just as a reminder, I'm not sharing this as a teacher/reading expert but as a Montessori parent supporting my child's journey at home. 

Do your children enjoy visual scanning activities?

Montessori friendly ways to support a child's journey toward reading through visual scanning activities. Ideas to try and why it's important.


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