Reading is complex and requires skills like tracking from line to line, using both eyes together as a team, focusing, alignment, visual memory, visual closure and more. The screenings we use now are like asking a child to play basketball on a baseball field, without the proper equipment.
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Santa Rosa, CA (PRWEB) November 6, 2006
The audience gasped at a bookstore talk, when Pat Wyman, author of Learning vs Testing, revealed that that nearly 70% of America's fourth and eighth graders still do not read at grade level, in spite of massive No Child Left Behind reforms.
In her Learning vs Testing book, Wyman attributes many of the nation's reading problems to inadequate school vision screenings, because they are unrelated to reading. "How many children read their books from 20 feet away while covering one eye?" she asked amidst the chuckles.
"Millions of children are victims of the worst reading crisis in history and we continue to use an out of date, incomplete screening to diagnose reading readiness. More than 40 states only use an eye chart, and scores like 20/20, are beyond misleading, claims Wyman.
"Many people think that 20/20 means great reading abilities. Not so. 20/20 means you can read a letter, 3/8 of an inch high, from 20 feet away. If we do not add learning related, comprehensive vision screenings in our schools, reading scores will continue to decline and America is already nearing third world literacy status."
Wyman continued, "Relying on scores from this single, incomplete distance eyesight test, contributes to a huge range of family problems and social issues, including juvenile delinquency and an all time high drop out rate."
Wyman said, "Reading is complex and requires skills like tracking from line to line, using both eyes together as a team, focusing, alignment, visual memory, visual closure and more. The screenings we use now are like asking a child to play basketball on a baseball field, without the proper equipment."
She recommended, "One quick way to solve your child's reading problems, is a learning related vision exam by a developmental optometrist. These specially trained eye doctors will thoroughly diagnose and prescribe proper treatment if needed. Visit http://www.howtolearn.com/ireadisucceed.html to find a developmental optometrist in your area", said Wyman.
Ms. Wyman, a Reading Specialist, Instructor of Continuing Education at California State University, and founder of HowToLearn.com worked closely with developmental optometrists from OEP and COVD to develop a free Eye-Q Reading Inventory to see what really happens as a child reads.
"Print out the Eye-Q Reading Inventory at http://www.howtolearn.com/ireadisucceed.html and tape record your child reading aloud. Does your child skip lines, lose place, not see punctuation, know a word on one page and not the next, tire easily or simply try to avoid reading altogether?" asked Wyman.
"Kids want to be good readers, because it opens the doors to learning success in every subject and even helps soothe homework hassles. Without the proper testing, you might not know that reading is actually painful for your child," said Wyman.
"I saw one father, a very powerful attorney, burst into tears when he watched his son's vision screening. Prior to that, he had no idea how distorted the world looked through his son's eyes. Unless you give your child a comprehensive vision screening, you may be setting your child up for reading failure", warned Wyman.
Two former U.S. Presidents had children and grandchildren who suffered from undiagnosed vision conditions, leading to severe reading problems. Former President Jimmy Carter's grandchildren had lazy eye not detected early enough. If left untreated, it can lead to blindness.
Mr. Carter is the national spokesperson for InfantSEE, which recommends vision exams for babies, under 12 months old. Visit http://www.howtolearn.com/ireadisucceed.html to find out how Luci Johnson, a struggling reader for years, became an honor student after vision therapy. Responding to statistics showing the critical need, Senator Christopher Bond (MO) sponsored the national Vision Care For Kids Act 2006.
Pat Wyman testifies on comprehensive vision screening bills in California. She says, "We could save millions of No Child Left Behind remedial dollars because we mislabel children with ADD/ADHD and other learning disabilities when undetected vision problems are the real culprit. These are easily preventable."
According to Wyman, "If we implement the vision screening and treatment activities recommended in the Learning vs Testing book, it is entirely possible to have children read at grade level, reaching our No Child Left Behind goals years sooner."
About Pat Wyman
Pat Wyman is the best selling author of Learning vs Testing, and the Instant Learning ® book series. She is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, has a masters degree in education, is a university instructor of continuing education at California State University, East Bay, and founder of the award winning website, http://www.HowToLearn.com.
Pat is a frequent media guest, and featured in such national publications as Family Circle, Woman's World, Nickelodeon's Nick Jr. Family Magazine and The Washington Post.