Most learning disabled students have serious deficiencies in the area of visual memory. Visual memory involves the ability to store and retrieve previously experienced visual sensations and perceptions when the stimuli that originally evoked them are no longer present. That is, the student must be capable of making a vivid visual image in his mind of the stimulus, such as a word, and once that stimulus is removed, to be able to visualize or recall this image without help. Various researchers have stated that as much as eighty percent of all learning takes place through the eye with visual memory existing as a crucial aspect of learning ( Farrald & Schamber 1973).
Children who have not developed their visual memory skills cannot readily reproduce a sequence of visual stimuli. They frequently experience difficulty in remembering the overall visual appearance of words or the letter sequence of words for reading and spelling. They may remember the letters of a word but often cannot remember their order, or they may know the initial letter and configuration of the word without having absorbed the details, that is, the subsequent letters of the word. As a result, these students fail to develop a good sight vocabulary and frequently experience serious writing and spelling difficulties.
Visual memory, in an academic environment, entails work with pictures, symbols, numbers, letters, and especially words. Students must be able to look at a word, form an image of that word in their minds and be able to recall the appearance of the word later. When teachers introduce a new vocabulary word, generally they write it on the chalkboard, have the children spell it, read it and then use it in a sentence. The word is then erased from the chalkboard. Students with good visual memory will recognize that same word later in their readers or other texts and will be able to recall the appearance of the word to spell it. Students with visual memory problems often will not. Once the word is erased from the chalkboard, the word is also erased from their minds, and they will not be able to recall it later. Later may be only a few seconds later or days. Without a good development of visual memory, it is extremely difficult for students to learn because visual memory is essential to learning. It is the skill that helps them to store and retrieve information........
Book Preview of Chapter 3: Visual Memory and Beyond