Visual Discrimination

Hi there friends! 

What a week! Have you been crazy busy too!? I have been making quite a few 'visual discrimination' based activities lately. I think it is an area that we often neglect, and can help SO much in our students' journey learning to read. I like to use these as 'fast finisher' activities as well as in reading groups in the early weeks of school. 

Here is one you can try for FREE!


It has a mixture of pictures and lower case letters. Click on the image below to find it. 



When I first started teaching, I would treat these activities in a much different way than I do now. I just didn't 'get it'. After I did a little reading, and after I watched few more experienced teachers implement them, I finally understood how rich these activities are, and the potential they yield. After I changed the way I used them, I saw the positive difference in my students. 

It is very easy to hand out activity cards or a worksheet and simply say to the students 'find the ones that are different' or 'look at the letters and find the ones that are the same'.

Watch your students eyes dart all over the page, as they rush to be the first one to find the answers.

It will take a few seconds, or minutes if you are lucky, and the students will ask you what they can 'do next'. 

Let's rewind a little. Think about why you would be implementing these activities - to strengthen reading, essentially - that is the ultimate goal. So build this in to your instruction and the expectations you have for the students based on that. You want them to slow down, look left to right, and attend to what they are looking at. 

Let's look at the activity cards in 'Pair Up' below. Students have to find 2 pictures that are the same on each card. Some worksheets in this style will have students circle two identical pictures as they look over a row. 

Give your student a card. Tell them to look at the star on the left - this is the 'starting star' - and this is where you want them to look every time they do one of these activities (and when they read a book)!


Tell them to point to the first picture. Tell them not to look at anything else, just the first picture. Tell them to say the name of this picture. Tell them to look at the picture closely and really observe it.  Then move on, picture by picture, across the card. One at a time, pointing and saying. Once at the end, tell them to return to the first picture again, and this time, to 'sweep' their eyes across the card and find the two that match. They can then 'clip' them (or circle them if on a worksheet). 


This slow and deliberate routine of working across the card will help SO much in helping your students develop solid reading strategies. You may get one or two muffle groans as you encourage them to slow down and think more, but trust me, they will learn to love the process. 

I have also found that it helps my students in the early weeks of school, develop systematic thinking, and follow my instructions. It helps some of my 'busy' workers to slow down, and learn to follow a process to complete a task. 

I have challenged more-able students in this style of activity by extending them a little. After saying the name of each picture, they can go back and say the beginning sound of each picture - or even write them down on a piece of paper or find a letter tile to match each picture. 


After doing some 'picture' based visual discrimination activities, your students should move on to letter and word based visual discrimination. 

Letters of the alphabet.... 




Blends....


Word Families... 


Tricky Sounds... 


I have made a bundle that has them all - and it's on sale!


If you love a worksheet, find my "Look, Say, Listen, Circle" worksheet at TpT also. 



I have an exciting post coming up very soon! On the weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting 6 other Australian bloggers! Woohoo!! It was SO much fun! We have been chatting away online for the last 2 years and have been trying to 'meet' for just as long. It FINALLY happened! 


Thanks so much for stopping by my friends, I will be back soon!