In order to gain comprehension throughout the reading process, we are constantly taking in the visual information and decoding it from the written word into a mental image. Many different aspects of vision are needed to allow for efficient reading. Accurate oculomotor control is important for beginning reading because it is related to the ability to maintain attention. Accommodation, binocular vision, and visual perception are also related to reading.

Reading requires aiming both eyes at the same point simultaneously, moving both eyes continually as a coordinated team across the line of print, and maintaining focus with both eyes to make the reading material clear. Each time we move our eyes to the next line of print, we continue with the process.

Memory and visualization are used to constantly relate the information to what is already known and to help make sense of what is being read. There are two distinct types of visual memory that is related to reading: Visual sequential memory and visual spatial memory (see Visual Perception). Visual sequential memory is the ability to perceive and remember a sequence of objects, letters, words, and other symbols in the same order as originally seen. Visual spatial memory is the ability to remember the spatial location of the stimuli or to remember, identify, or reproduce a design or form. Visual sequential memory is strongly tied to the use of language to label the stimuli. The labels help in organization, storing, rehearsing, and recalling the visual information. This labeling process is called “verbal mediation”

There is a specific relationship between phonological awareness and learning to read. Children begin to attend to the beginning and end of letters in words. Visual spatial memory helps the child to memorize the graphic information that corresponds to the phonological markers.