Word Bubbling, the Forest & the Trees
The Roman word bubbling tool was developed as a method to apply color to the outline of a word so that the word can be seen as a shape. Color is an anchor for individuals with CVI. Color draws and holds visual attention. A tight color contour can be used to draw attention to a word as a single entity, a kind of simple picture of the word. Why? Individuals with CVI have difficulties with visual complexity and the interior of the individual letters of a word is inherently visually crowded.
In a way, the bubble is the forest, and the letters of the word are the trees. The trees are critically important and therefore, teaching letter recognition, phonemic awareness, spelling, and writing are critical. But too often, students with CVI show us that that even when these building blocks are in place, the act of continuous reading is often slow, stressful and most of all, visually fatiguing. The student may not be able to navigate the forest due to the overwhelming numbers and features of the trees.
Therefore, if an additional support can be utilized to help a learner with CVI visually identify the salient features of the shape of the word, they may be able to increase visual recognition of the word shape and read with greater fluency and benefit from context and reading speed.
Word bubbling does not teach a child with CVI to read.
Again, word bubbling does not teach a child with CVI to read.
It is an additional support used in conjunction with the essentials of teaching that may make the image of word more accessible to a child with CVI. It is hope that as the child integrated the language and visual regonition of salient features, the need for color word bubbling will be faded and possibly eliminated.