An old time favourite, Where’s Wally? book: A great tool for improving eye tracking skills for reading.
Initially, I used Where’s Wally? books as a reward for older children. Towards the end of their session, we would compete together to find Wally first. Although it can be quite stimulating for children to do on their own, they have a lot more fun when they are competing against another person. The more I used Where’s Wally?, the more I noticed that some children took a very, very long time to find Wally (and I mean VERY!).
I noticed that they weren’t using the skill of ‘eye tracking’ to find Wally. This was noticed as they tried to find Wally by moving their head rather than tracking with their eyes. For example, looking at one corner of the page then moving to the bottom, then the middle, then the top corner and so on without any structure or tracking movements.
This skill is very important in reading. Skilled readers are able to move their eyes smoothly along a line to fixate on new information. Developing eye tracking skills makes reading a smoother and more enjoyable experience.
For the children who were struggling, we practised a range of eye tracking skills in both pictures (e.g. Where’s Wally) and in text (reading a book). Once the child learnt to eye track, they were much faster at finding Wally. Some of my clients improved by 50% accuracy. With this skill, their reading fluency is also improved as they track words in advance and read at a faster pace with more accuracy.
I just bought my 8th Where’s Wally book from Booktopia. I am certain that my clients will be just as excited as I was, when I received it from the mailman, last Monday.