One Minute Warm-Up for Reading
When children and teachers move their eyes, they access different parts of the brain, strengthen their eye muscles, and even relieve stress! One simple way to get the eyes moving and warmed-up for reading is to follow this simple one minute procedure. Students use their thumbs or the erasers of their pencils for this activity. Adding a sticker to their thumbs or cute eraser top to pencils help improve tracking.
Convergence: Have the children bring their thumbs or pencils straight in toward the nose to a comfortable point; not too close. Move the pencil in a downward arc away from the nose, at arm’s length. Repeat three times. Reverse the movement and have the children move their thumbs or pencils away from the nose and then in a downward arc toward the nose.
Side to Side and Up and Down Tracking: Have the children move their thumbs or pencils at eye level from the left side to the right side, and from the right side to the left side. Repeat three times. Have the children move their thumbs or pencils up and down at the midline. Keep the elbow straight to maintain a comfortable distance. Repeat three times.
Circular Tracking: Have the children move their thumbs or pencils clockwise in a circle once, and counterclockwise once, keeping within a comfortable field of vision.
Figure 8’s: Have the children move their thumbs or pencils in the Figure 8 pattern, at arm’s length, and then again with the elbow bent for near and far focus.
A nice way to end the reading warm-up is to have children do some palming. If time is of the essence, children may skip palming and get right to their reading.
Palming: Have the children rub their hands together until the palms are warm, then gently cover their closed eyes with the palms of their hands. Overlap the fingers above the bridge of the nose to create as much darkness as possible. Keep the eyes covered for a minute or two. Add deep breathing. Palming revives the eyes, warms the hands for writing, and quiets the mind.