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Visual Milestones for Reading – What to Look for

Coleman Vision - Visual Milestones for Reading

Being able to understand and identify visual milestones in your child is very important to make sure your child’s eyesight develops properly. Proper eyesight is important as children grow and learn about the world around them. Here are some important milestones to identify as your child grows from birth through their 6th birthday.

Birth-1 Month
You can begin spotting visual milestones as soon as your baby is born; infants should respond to bright lights and moving objects. As your baby grows, his/her visual senses become more complex and developed. By one month, your baby should be able to follow objects and although there may be not cues that this is happening, they should start to see some colors. Instances of eye crossing should be diminishing by the end of their first month as well.

2-3 Months
At this point, your baby should be following lights and objects more readily and is developing the ability to focus on objects and keep his/her vision stable. Before this stage, if your baby tries to follow an object, their movements are likely shaky. This is an important development toward learning to read, as eyes need to focus and be stable in order to read. Your baby should also begin to look more intently at faces.
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4-6 Months
Once your baby has mastered the ability to smoothly track objects, he/she should start reaching for objects. They can see objects more clearly and their color vision is almost fully developed. During this time, your baby should also be developing hand-eye coordination, as they start to reach for and pick up objects.

7-12 Months
Your baby is now developing a sense of depth perception, which allows your baby to see the world in three dimensions. They are also able to track more objects with their eyes, including objects that are moving quickly. Babies at this stage are more able to recognize faces, and often enjoy playing peek-a-boo. Hand-eye coordination also becomes more developed as your baby learns to crawl and walk.

1-2 Years
Your baby’s vision really begins to expand during this year. He or she will look at pictures and recognize faces, shapes, and familiar objects. They can understand more subtle differences in shapes, sizes and colors. Their hand-eye coordination becomes much more developed, as they pick up and play with more objects.

3-5 Years
All of your child’s visual skills become better. By 5 years, you should be able to get your child tested to make sure their vision is 20/20, and you may discover that they need corrective lenses at this point. Toward the end of this period, your child should be focusing on reading development and begin to recognize sight words and match spoken words to written words.

6 Years
By six years of age, your child should be ready to read, and should already be recognizing words and letters. They should be able to sound out words and read aloud. By the end of their 6th year, your child should have developed literacy skills and be able to read.

If you notice that your baby is not reaching many of these vision milestones, it is important to discuss this with your pediatrician. Here are some things that you may notice if your child is having trouble seeing, especially in the early stages: your baby doesn’t notice your face, your baby can’t track objects with his/her eyes, your baby’s eyes roll or don’t seem to focus, or your baby or child rubs their eyes and/or produces tears more than normal.