When a child can't remember ASK THE EXPERTS

August 05, 1998

Dr. Ronald M. Berger, an optometrist in private practice in Columbia who specializes in vision and conceptual development children, answers a frequently asked question:

My son can remember anything I tell him and can remember the content of a book that I read to him, but he can't remember something he has read on his own. Does he have a problem?

There are several reasons this may happen. If a child has a tracking problem, he may lose his place, skip words or lines and be unable to obtain meaning. If a child has a focusing or "eye teaming" problem, words may appear blurred or double and the child is unable to see properly without tremendous effort and concentration.

Also, if a child does not know where to look at each word in the reading process, she may see the same word differently or inconsistently. Difficulties with visual memory may contribute to this difficulty and a child may know a word on one page and forget the same word on the next page.

If a child has not developed the ability to visualize, it will be more difficult to "remember" what happened in the story. All of these factors can be sources of difficulty in the reading process. When a child can understand what they hear very well, but cannot obtain meaning with material that goes through their eyes, then the visual system should be thoroughly evaluated.

The Sun's panel of professionals addresses concerns about reading and your child. Send questions or suggestions to: Ask the Experts, Reading by 9, Features Dept., The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278

! Pub date: 8/05/98

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