The relation of clinical saccadic eye movement testing to reading in kindergartners and first graders

Optom Vis Sci. 1997 Jan;74(1):37-42. doi: 10.1097/00006324-199701000-00018.


Although a substantial body of research has demonstrated an association between reading and eye movements, this association has not been examined in kindergartners. Therefore, the relation between psychometric eye movement scores and reading skill was studied in a masked investigation with 181 kindergartners and first graders (mean age 6.25 years) from a middle class, suburban, elementary school near Cleveland, Ohio. Eye movements were evaluated with the New York State Optometric Association King-Devick (NYSOA K-D; Bernell Corporation, South Bend, IN) and the Developmental Eye Movement tests (DEM; Bernell Corporation, South Bend, IN). Digit knowledge was assessed with Reversals Frequency Test Execution subtest (Gardner). Reading performance was measured with Metropolitan Achievement Test 6 (MAT6) Reading Test and teachers' assessments. The number of unknown or reversed numbers on Gardner was significantly related to test times on the NYSOA K-D and DEM, but not the DEM ratio. Outcome on NYSOA K-D, determined by errors in conjunction with test time, was significantly related to reading ability in 5-year-olds (p = 0.0129), 6-year-olds (p = 0.0167), and the entire subject group when controlling for age (p = 0.0008). Our findings suggest that: (1) DEM factors out automaticity of number knowledge; (2) the NYSOA K-D can be completed by kindergartners; (3) the DEM is too difficult for many kindergarteners; and (4) performance on the NYSOA K-D is related to reading performance in 5- and 6-year-olds in kindergarten.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reading*
  • Saccades / physiology*
  • Vision Disorders / diagnosis
  • Vision Tests