Reading can be tough on kids. The little beasts are full of energy and prone to lack of focus. To successfully have them sitting behind the desk, staring at a static book, you need a masterclass in psychology and a huge amount of chocolate cookies as a bribe. But there is an easy trick to get them to focus without losing concentration. And luckily, your kid has all the tools they need always at hand (quite literally).
The Differences In Eye Movements
We are going to start with a little bit of a backstory here, so you can understand why this technique works. If you are not interested in theory, feel free to skip to the next chapter.
Our eyes are attracted to motion. Say you put a finger on a book and start sliding the finger over the text. Your eyes will naturally try to follow the movement of the finger. Test it out. Try putting the finger on the third line in this article and start sliding the finger along that line, but read the 10th line instead. Even if you try to focus on the 10th line, your eyes will constantly skip to the moving finger.
To properly understand how finger reading helps, you need to know there are two basic eye movements. Saccadic and smooth pursuit.
Saccadic Eye Movement
This type of eye movement is normally used when reading. Eyes do not follow the flow of the text naturally. Instead, we are making very fast, very short, staggering motions when reading. Think of it like jumping from word to word.
To see how this looks, watch the following video for about 10 seconds:
Smooth Pursuit Eye Movement
The smooth pursuit eye movement is when our eyes continuously track an object that is moving in a smooth motion. Like observing an airplane in the sky or a rock falling into a lake. The movement keeps people focused on what is important. In other words, it keeps your kid focused on what they are reading and nothing else.
Use Your Finger To Read Faster
The technique is blatantly simple. Have the kid put their finger just under the first word in the text. Let them start reading the text while following the flow with their finger. The kid needs to follow the line in a single, continuous motion, adjusting the speed to suit their reading speed. The motion will stop the eyes from moving around too much and keep your kid focused on the text.
This technique will improve your kid’s concentration as the finger will tell the brains where the focus should be. Additionally, it helps with issues, common with dyslexia children, such as line skipping or letter swapping.
How To Finger Read Like A Pro
Luckily, we live in a digital age, where a set of tools (like our fingers) can be enhanced with technology. Kobi is a mobile app that helps children learn to read. It has a variety of tools that encourage focus and provide motivation for the kid while learning to read. One of the tools is ‘Focus Frame’, which allows kids to use their finger to track text on a tablet and takes this technique to the next level.
The Focus Frame helps the child stay focused on the word they are reading by removing all neighboring texts. Young readers find this incredibly helpful, resulting in more and faster reading. Check the app out.
Help Your Child Speed Up Reading
94,62% of children show improved reading speed, improved reading accuracy, higher motivation; All the ingredients of fluent reading.