Literacy and Cognition:. The Role of the Brain in Learning to Read Claire Lenz, Ed.D. Associate Professor St. Joseph’s College Patchogue, New York. The brain’s structure is determined by experience.
Literacy and Cognition:
The Role of the Brain in Learning to Read
Claire Lenz, Ed.D.
St. Joseph’s College
Patchogue, New York
Changes in the environment and experiences alter the structure of the brain. This is the plasticity of the brain making each learner unique.
Memory- immediate, working, and long term
Beginning readers and struggling readers have difficulty understanding long sentences because of the limited capacity of working memory.
Dory in Finding Nemo had a problem with short term and working memory.
Successful reading involves two basic processes: decoding and comprehension generated by three neural systems (visual and auditory processing, and frontal lobe for meaning.
VISUAL Processing AUDITORY PROCESSING
What do I see? What do I hear?
What does it mean?
but NO Temporo-parietal
Stanford Study-Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Early Edition: 2/25/2003Temple, Gabrielli, et. Al Cornell University Stanford University
The printed word stimulates the visual cortex, which passes the word to the parieto-temporal and Broca’s areas where it is analyzed for phonemes and pronunciation. A visual word form is produced with the meaning of the word. If the word form cannot be found, it is sent back to the visual cortex for more input.
The printed word is sent along to the occipito-temporal area where all the information about the word is quickly generated and the child moves on to the next word. As the number of words in the word form area grows, the child becomes a more skillful reader.
University of Washington MRI Study – After 28 hours of instruction in phoneme and morpheme mapping, the fMRI scans of ten dyslexic children showed neural processing characteristics of typical readers ((Aylward et al., 2003).
Right-Handed non-dyslexic readers have a larger left brain hemisphere.
Dyslexic right-handed readers have symmetrical right and left hemispheres
Right- handed with right hemisphere dominance are at-risk for reading problems.
Right brain symmetry related to poor recognition ofsounds of right-handed children.
Those students with no hand preference from low SES families are at-risk for reading failure. Those from higher SES families are at a lower risk.
Left-Handed with a larger hemisphere on the right are not at-risk.
Left-handed children with left brain dominance are at-risk for reading failure.
Poor visual memory for language symbols
Neurons in the auditory and visual system are smaller in dyslexic readers than average and above average readers (magno and parvo cells).
Slower processing takes place across the corpus callosum
For example …
Medial consonants- 80%
Vowel digraphs- 77%
Adding endings- 82%
Prefixes and suffixes- 65%
Weakest area- silent reading- 85%
Main idea- 57%
Cause and effect- 63%
Holistic Score: 1.8 on a 4-Point Scale
- Use storytelling
-Make your introductions to text material
relevant to students’ perceptions. Check
their prior knowledge and build upon it.
-Model constantly: word recognition, vocabulary,
- Use visuals, suggest mnemonic devices, and
incorporate a variety of practice formats
(dry erase boards, show me boards, letter tiles, magnetic letters, computer programs, or simulations).
- Think and talk aloud-Teacher models the steps in cognitive processing. Talk aloud is an excellent memory enhancer.
- Teaching phonemic awareness
- Phonics instruction
- Spelling and invented spelling
Blending & Segmenting
Preview the reading
Click and clunk- Clicks are parts that make sense;
clunks are parts or words that don’t. Students
identify the clunks and strategies are used to build
Get the gist- Tell in as few words as possible what
the selection is about.
Wrap-up- Students review what they have learned.
Students form a cooperative learning group to practice Collaborative Strategic Reading
Higher order thinking activities build brain connections:
Teacher preparation programs have the responsibility to instruct their undergraduate and graduate students in the findings of scientific studies on brain research. Their graduates need to know the components of a balanced literacy program as well as the seven levels of brain processing that must be integrated:
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Claire Lenz
St. Joseph’s College
155 West Roe Boulevard
Patchogue, New York 11772
(631)-447-2244) email: [email protected]