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Showing posts in January 2010  Show all posts >

Your Child's Amazing Brain

your child's amazing brainDid you know that human beings are the only animals on our planet whose babies require 13 to 14 years to mature? Anthropologists now believe that the reason for this is the size of our brain. 

To provide a child’s remarkable brain ample time to mature takes up about one fifth of our life. What this means is that the time your child spends living with you is critical to the shape of his brain for the rest of his life. You actually have a great deal of control over your child’s “brain power” by building the brain’s super highway system and then paving the highways and byways that will allow your child to select among a variety of adult vocations and live a fulfilling life. 

But, interestingly, although the childhood period is quite long, you need not try to fill every day with meaningful activities for your child – her brain is actually designed to extract and use the information that her early life contains to build itself. Your child’s brain is a learning machine that will utilize interactions with you and other adults as well as experiences within the environment to create a scaffolding that will prepare her first for school and then for life as a productive adult and social expert. 

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Categories: Reading & Learning

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Davenport, IA, Succeeds with State-Funded Preschool

state funded preschoolThree years ago, Iowa's Davenport School District created a state-funded preschool program for 4-year-olds. Enrolled students spend 2 or more hours a day in the classroom learning letters, colors, numbers, and more from a licensed teacher.

The program's curriculum is designed to prepare the students to succeed in kindergarten.  So far, the program seems to be working: 90% of the Davenport students attending early childhood programs began kindergarten achieving at grade level, compared to 66% of students who did not participate.

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Categories: Education Trends, Fast ForWord, Reading & Learning

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2010 Visionary Conference - Save the Date

Scientific Learning Visionary ConferencePhoto courtesy PDPhoto.orgAre you a private provider of Scientific Learning products in the U.S. or Canada?  Then mark your calendars for our upcoming Visionary Conference in San Diego Thursday - Saturday, March 18 - 20, 2010.  Speakers include Dr. Mike Merzenich, Dr. Paula Tallal, Dr. Bill Jenkins, Dr. Steve Miller, and Dr. Martha Burns.  Be sure to let us know if you'd like to participate!

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Categories: Brain Research, Fast ForWord, Reading & Learning, Reading Assistant, Scientific Learning Research

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Brain Fitness Webinar: Disrupting Class

Michael Horn, Disrupting Class co-authorMichael Horn spoke about disruptive innovation in the classroom at one of our live webinars in early October.  If you missed the live webinar, you can catch a replay via our brain fitness podcasts.  Horn is co-author of the influential book Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns.

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Categories: Brain Fitness, Education Trends

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The 30 Million Word Gap in Language Experience Puts Kids At Risk

The Achievement Gap

The achievement gap begins for many students before they enter the Kindergarten classroom. Children aren´t born with a vocabulary, yet educators and reading researchers have long identified the differences in word knowledge and vocabulary as key indicators of student readiness. Here are a couple of key findings:

A gap of 30 million words in language experience exists for some children prior to entering school. In 1995, Hart and Risley published findings from a study showing vast differences in the quantity and quality of language experience in the homes of children during the first 4 years of life.

Infants and young children with inadequate language development are at-risk for developing academic difficulties.1 Without effective intervention, the majority of these students will exit high school with academic skills well below grade level.2

1 - Catts, 1993; Rissman, Curtis, and Tallal, 1990
2 - Shaywitz et al., 1999

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Liberty Public Schools Improves Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) Scores

Over the last three years, Liberty Public Schools has steadily improved MAP scores and Franklin Elementary has achieved even greater gains. From 2008 to 2009, the percentage of Franklin Elementary students scoring at the proficient level or above on the MAP jumped from 65 percent to 82 percent in communication arts, and from 69 percent to 80 percent in mathematics. According to Dr. Barbara Wippich, curriculum and instruction intervention coordinator for the LPS, Fast ForWord® and Reading Assistant™ software have played a big role in the district's success.  Click here to view case study

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Categories: Fast ForWord, Reading & Learning, Reading Assistant

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Reading Intervention and Brain Fitness: One School's Story

brain fitness Penn-Trafford High School in Harrison City, PA, had a problem: some of their adolescent students were not engaging at school, and many of those students were struggling readers.  The school shifted its reading intervention efforts from building reading skills to building a reading-ready brain with Fast ForWord® software.

The plan worked.  Students using the Fast ForWord software gained 1.1 years in reading skill levels, on average, in just 30 days.  And there were other benefits, including increased attendance, improved behavior, and better engagement in classes.  The story, The Reading-Ready Brain, appeared in the December 2009 edition of Principal Leadership magazine.

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Categories: Brain Fitness, Brain Research, Education Trends, Fast ForWord, Reading & Learning

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ADHD and Academic Success

As educators, we see students come through schools every day with any number of challenges—emotional, psychiatric and physical problems of all kinds. On that continuum, attention issues—even more so than depression, anxiety or disruptive behavior—appear to be more important to later success than previously thought.

A recent study led by Joshua Breslau at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, has shown that children with attention problems in kindergarten often end up having academic problems right on up through high school. They found that these kinds of problems, such as ADHD, had the greatest potential to impact a child’s future academic performance.

"The evidence suggests…that kids with attention problems don’t learn as much," said Breslau. "This starts very early for many children and is cumulative."

How can we best help students with ADHD or other attention problems and ensure their success? In kindergarten and first graders, it takes looking for problems in following directions, controlling impulses and following through on tasks and projects. Once the problem is identified, parents as well as teachers must be engaged in the intervention process as early as possible to make sure that the child’s needs are met so they can get on track for a successful future.

 

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Categories: Brain Research, Reading & Learning

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Welcome to the Science of Learning Blog

Hello and welcome to The Science of Learning blog, providing information to educators, parents, scientists, and academics on the science of brain plasticity and ways to accelerate learning for children and adults.

Visit regularly to stay up to date, or add our feed to your feed reader.  And if there's a topic or issue that you'd like us to blog about, let us know by sending us an email at thescienceoflearningblog@scilearn.com.

 

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Categories: Brain Fitness, Brain Research, Education Funding, Grants, and Stimulus, Education Trends, English Language Learners, Fast ForWord, Reading & Learning, Reading Assistant, Scientific Learning Research, Special Education

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