Sensory-Motor Reading Readiness

Rather than simply reading a certain age, your child’s reading readiness is also linked to their physical and emotional development. There are certain developmental signs that indicate your child is ready for classroom learning.

In the classroom, your child will be required to sit still for a length of time, focus and pay attention. If they find this difficult, they will struggle to learn in that environment. They also need to be able to focus their eyes, move them together smoothly across a page, and remember letters and numbers.

Helping to Prepare Your Child for Reading 

You can help prepare your child for school by supporting their sensory-motor development.

Activities you can do to help your child’s reading readiness include:

Physical skills:

  • Walking along a balance beam
  • Skipping
  • Hopping
  • Rolling down hills, playing catch with a ball
  • Clapping games
  • Rhythm and rhyme
  • Climbing in nature

Fine motor activities include:

  • Cutting with scissors
  • Digging in the garden
  • Painting
  • Beading
  • Drawing
  • String games
  • Finger knitting

Support for sensory-motor development and integration will not come from flash cards or video games, but from lots of physical activities and healthy social connections. Playing video games or watching television can actually interfere with your child’s healthy sensory-motor development, and may keep your child’s nervous system in an elevated state of stress, which does not support learning.

Common Signs in Children who Struggle with Learning to Read

Children who struggle with learning to read often have:

  • A poorly developed sense of the space around them
  • Trouble moving their eyes together to follow a moving target
  • Trouble maintaining balance when sitting or standing still
  • Poor awareness of left and right sides of their body
  • Difficulty sitting still in a chair, sitting upright with their feet on the ground
  • Poor muscle tone and slumped posture 
  • Awkward pencil grip
  • Difficulty listening, or processing sound
  • Poor memory
  • Become easily stressed, quickly going into a flight/fight response 

Children with delayed sensory-motor development may also find it difficult to make and maintain friendships. This is because their eyes and mind are busy navigating space, and they often struggle to listen and miss social cues.

All of these milestones for reading readiness can be addressed through play and social connection, before your child starts school.

Seen this way, reading readiness is a matter of body awareness as much as reaching a certain age. We would never ask a child with a broken leg to run, so why are we asking children with sensory-motor immaturities to learn to read?

To learn more, or to book your initial parent consultation, call Rosalind on 0474 095 432
Registered NDIS Provider
Accredited Holistic Counsellor and Psychotherapist


Get in touch today

Your first 15 minute phone consultation is FREE. 

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email


More Updates

Challenging Behaviours

Registered NDIS Provider

Do you have a child who is struggling to keep up in school? Perhaps they are NDIS participants, with a …

Read Full Post
Child Development

Activities to Support Learning

Are you looking for ways to support your child’s early learning? Here are some suggested activities for having fun with …

Read Full Post
Challenging Behaviours

Challenging Behaviours and Learning Difficulties

At times, all parents feel at a loss to understand what their child might be needing from them. This is …

Read Full Post