Monday, October 26, 2009

Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain

Interesting points from:

Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain
By Maryanne Wolf

We come into the world with the ability to change our brain and the way it works- we are "genetically poised for breakthroughs".

So much of who we are and what we think comes from what we read. "We are what we read."

Children with a large vocabulary will experience texts much differently than children who have not be exposed to as many words.

Children need instructional environments that support with paths that need to be dug out in the brain for reading to occur. School is like a construction zone.

There is a "reciprocal relationship between emotional development and reading."

Phonemic awareness is one of the best predictors of a child's success in learning to read.

George O. Cureton has his students act out the sounds in words. For example if you told 3 students that you wanted them to act out the word "hat". One student would say /h/ and bump into the next student who would say /a/. Then the last student would say /t/ and together they would all say "hat".

Visual reversals of letters are actually due to difficulty retrieving the correct verbal labels for the sounds. They know the letter sounds they just have difficulty naming them.

Joseph Torgesen and Richard Wagner from Florida State University found that explicit phonemic awareness programs are far more successful in dealing with reading disabilities than other programs.

Children with dyslexia often are slower at naming objects and letters.

Students with dyslexia learn to compensate and are often amazing at finding patterns. Many successful people with dyslexia are in careers where finding patterns are important such as in finance or radiology.

In most people the planum temporale is larger on the left hemisphere than on the right however, in people with dyslexia they are symmetrical. This is currently being researched further.

People with dyslexia may learn differently but the CAN and WILL learn to read. "It's our job, not theirs, to find out how best to teach them."

Educational research informed by neuroscience can help teachers identify what works best for a student.

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