A child's physical coordination is directly linked with his ability to read. The processes that your brain goes through when you read are similar to the processes your brain goes through when you complete certain exercises, called cross-lateral exercises. In a cross-lateral exercise, you must use your arms and legs in movements that cross your body; performing these exercises can actually help improve a child's reading skills as well as his coordination.
Incorporate movement into your class time. Every once in a while, your students need a break; they need to take their focus off the school tasks at hand and take time to breathe and relax. Give your students' break time added benefits by having them perform stretches and exercises designed to incorporate cross-lateral movements. Take a break for cross-lateral activities two or three times in an hour so your students can stretch their bodies and their reading skills.
Link your exercises to reading activities. According to child development expert Dr. Jean Feldman, "Both sides [of the brain and body] are forced to communicate when arms and legs cross over. This 'unsticks' the brain and energizes learning." When you get ready to do a reading activity in class, preface it with a cross-lateral exercise break. This will get your students' minds ready for reading.
Consider a program designed for cross-lateral activities. Generation Fit is an organization that has developed a dance-based game system for young readers. This program works with the Reading First goal of improving effective reading instruction in the early grades. The dance program uses cross-lateral movements and balance activities designed to improve reading skills for young children.
- girl stretching down image by Laser from Fotolia.com