Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Visual memory and reading

Visual memory is a form of memory that preserves some aspects of our senses pertaining to visual experience. We are able to place in memory visual information that resembles objects, places, animals or people in a mental image.

As such, a child uses visual memory to remember letters of the alphabet and of course numbers. Children do not use visual memory to memorise words as suggested by Anne Castles, Kathreen Rastle and Kate Nation in the Research report forwarded on Twitter by Juliet Palethorpe.

For an example of visual memory suggested in the research report tweeted to me by Juliet Palethorpe refer to my post here.

‘Research-Based’ has come to mean nothing more than ‘buy our programme’. This is currently the case with Science of Reading programmes that are being touted by many.

Unfortunately, the public, without thinking, swallow hook, line and sinker research reports published by researchers.

Most people assume that words are stored in visual memory. The main reason for reading difficulties is the belief that we store words based on visual memory. It has been proven scientifically that reading is not based on visual memory.

However, visual memory does have a role in reading.

Learning the letters of the alphabet and the grapheme-phoneme relationship is based on visual-auditory memory. Children need to learn that the letter t makes the /t/ sound and letter m the /m/sound. Visual memory is required to distinguish the different letters from one another.

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