Form discrimination is the ability to perceive differences among and positional aspects of objects. It is one of the most basic visual discriminations that a child has to make.
As Hallahan et al. rightly state in their book Introduction to Learning Disabilities, the child with poor form discrimination is at a distinct disadvantage when confronted with school-related activities. There is hardly an academic activity that does not require the child to engage in form discrimination.
The most apparent classroom activity requiring the child to discriminate forms is that of reading. Learning the letters of the alphabet, syllables, and words will undoubtedly be impeded if there is difficulty in perceiving the shape of the letters, syllables, and words. The child with a problem in this area cannot distinguish between similar letters, such as m and n, or words like hose, house, and horse.
That the discrimination of letters is a crucial skill in the early stages of reading is evidenced by an extensive literature review conducted by Chall. She concluded that the letter knowledge of young children is a better predictor of early reading ability than the various tests of intelligence and language ability.
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