The relationship between visual-motor skills and reading achievement in students in first through third grade.
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A student’s ability to read grade level material allows for optimal performance with all other subjects. A large component of a student’s ability to be a successful reader involves visual skills. Though there is an understanding of the importance of visual acuity, the ability to see visual stimuli, there is less of an understanding of the importance of visual information processing skills, namely visual-motor integration skills, on a student’s reading ability. Visual-motor integration utilizes visual information processing skills to process and interpret visual stimuli for a student to read. This can include the ability to determine the orientation of letters, the spacing of words, maintenance of line orientation when reading, and to understand the relationship between letters and words. In this study, the relationship between visual-motor integration skills and reading achievement was investigated in students from first through third grade in two private elementary schools [School A with 77 students in the sample and School B with 20 students in the sample], located in a metropolitan city. To determine the students’ visual-motor integration skills, the Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration (Beery VMI), 6th edition was administered to determine a student’s visual-motor integration skills. Reading achievement was determined using teacher administered annual reading assessments, STAR Reading Assessment, Reading A-Z, and Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System. The purpose of this study was to determine: (1) whether there is a relationship between visual-motor integration skills and reading achievement; (2) the relationship between visual-motor integration and reading achievement across each individual grade; and (3) the relationship between gender and visual-motor integration skills. In School A results indicated (1) a statistically significant correlation between visual-motor integration skills and reading ability (r=.54, p<0.01); (2) a positive, non-statistically significant relationship between visual-motor integration and reading ability in participants in 1st grade (r=.33, N=26, ns); (3) a statistically significant correlation between visual-motor integration skills and reading ability in the 2nd and 3rd grade, where the strongest correlation was seen in the third grade (2nd grade r=.487, N=27, p<0.01and 3rd grade r=.49, N=24, p<0.05) and (4) a non-statistically significant relationship between visual-motor integration skills and gender [F (1,75)=.090, ns]. In school B, results indicated a small, but non-significant correlation (r=.29, N=20, ns) between visual-motor skills and reading achievement.