Visual Spatial Processing Predicts Math and Reading Skills

visual spatial processing skills are a good predictor of later school achievement in reading and math and fine motor coordination skills were associated with better math skills.

Visual spatial processing skills that involve fine motor skills and integrating motor information are very important to develop during the early childhood years. Previous research tells us that early fine motor skills are significantly associated with later achievement. Current research wanted to answer the question how early visual spatial processing skills and fine motor coordination skills predict later school performance.

Methodology

The researchers assessed fine motor skills in 34,491 low income, ethnically diverse preschoolers. The evaluations measured two different types of fine motor skills: those that integrated motor information with visual spatial information and those that relied mainly on coordination skills.

The children’s school performance was then later assessed in third, fourth, and fifth grades.

Results of the Study on Visual Spatial Processing and Later School Performance

After data analysis, the results indicated the following:

  • stronger visual spatial intelligence skills in preschool were associated with significantly better outcomes for children’s standardized math and reading test scores in third, fourth, and fifth grades even after controlling for gender, socioeconomic status, and preschool cognitive, language, and social-emotional skills.
  • fine motor coordination was associated with significantly better math outcomes across all three grade levels but was not associated with better reading performance. 

The researchers concluded that visual spatial processing skills are a good predictor of later school achievement in reading and math and fine motor coordination skills were associated with better math skills.

Reference: Greenburg, J. E., Carlson, A. G., Kim, H., Curby, T. W., & Winsler, A. (2020). Early Visual-Spatial Integration Skills Predict Elementary School Achievement Among Low-Income, Ethnically Diverse Children. Early Education and Development31(2), 234-252.

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visual spatial processing skills are a good predictor of later school achievement in reading and math and fine motor coordination skills were associated with better math skills.