Improving Visual Discrimination, Improves Reading!

Before you can teach a child to learn to read and write they need a whole host of skills to master. One of these skills is visual discrimination. Visual discrimination is the ability to be able to tell the difference and similarities of objects.

When introducing this skill, start with concrete materials. First have your student sort objects with one attribute. For example have a group of objects and have your student sort it by color, then by shape, or size. The point of this activity is to have your student look at how objects are similar and different and to also understand the concept of same and different. These two words can be confusing for young people, people with alternative abilities, and students with English as a Second Language (especially if the written word is different). If you suspect that your student has more trouble than usual – please refer them for further testing.

There are many games to help with visual processing and discrimination.


If you are trying to improve your students visual processing skills it is best to work with them one on one but this resource works equally well in a center. As your students complete each puzzle, they will be working on the following skills.

Visual Discrimination: You student will discriminate between similar shapes on the page and find its match.

Visual Memory: Your student will remember and try to recall visual information.

Fine Motor Skills: Your student will cut and paste.

Visual Processing Speed: If you decide to time your student, you will collect data on the speed in which they are able to perceive visual information. The times along with your observations will help you see if your student is improving. When timing, your student will complete one puzzle you will record how long it takes them to correctly complete the puzzle. Time your student after they have cut out the shapes.

If the student makes a mistake, point it out and have them look at the shape more closely. Keep the clock running until they have successfully completed the puzzle. Write the time in the proper section on the recording sheet.


There are many games that can be purchased to work on visual skills and visual discrimination and they are a lot of fun! Here are some of my favorites (affiliate links):

QwirkleTM Q-Bitz TM
Gravity Maze TM
Sequence/ Sequence Jr ®
Connect 4 ®
Guess Who ®
Kerplunk TM


Mattel BLINK
Set/ Set Jr
Spot It!
Swish TM

I will add to this list as I learn more resources that help with improving visual processing. These are such great games to work with your students. They can be played during centers and kids really love them!