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How Learning and Literacy Enhance Our Brains

Learning and literacy

Reading is a recent cultural invention. It is not a skill we are naturally programmed to develop like walking or vocalizing. It is a relatively recent development in human history estimated to be only about 6000 years old. The development of oral language in humans is believed to be nearly 300,000 years old.  Oral language is thought to have co-developed with the use of tools as both require complex motor control.

To quote from the recent book Reading in the Brain (Dehaene, 2009): "At this very moment, your brain is accomplishing an amazing feat­—reading. Four or five times per second, your gaze stops just long enough to recognize one or two words.  You are, of course, unaware of this jerky intake of information.  Only the sounds and meanings of the words reach your conscious mind.  But how can a few black marks projected onto your retina evoke an entire universe?"[i]  

In 2010, Stanislas Dehaene, et al. published a study which evaluated whether learning to read improves brain function, and also whether there are tradeoffs for such learning.[ii] In other words, does learning to read “occupy” a space in the brain that could or would be used for something else in our evolutionary past?

Dehaene and his research team have used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure how the brain responded to various stimuli, including spoken and written language, visual faces, houses, tools, and checkers in a group of literate and illiterate adults. Ten were illiterate, 22 learned to read as adults, and 31 learned to read as children.

In the end, their studies generated a number of fascinating conclusions. Literacy—no matter at what point in life the skill is acquired, in youth or as an adult—enhances brain response in three ways:

  1. It boosts the organization of the visual cortex. Located toward the back of the brain, this is the area that processes visual information.
  2. It allows the area of the brain responsible for spoken language—the planum temprale—to be activated by written sentences.
  3. It refines how the brain processes spoken language.

Granted, there is much more detail to understand behind these conclusions, and I certainly invite you to read the entire article. Still, for us as educators, these conclusions hold useful insights.

In being aware of how literacy is related to these other skills, such as speaking and visual processing, we can use this information as yet another tool to help us better understand what we can expect from our students, no matter their ages. If they come into our classroom able to read, we know that we can expect them to have greater capacity for speech. If they come in with fewer or no reading skills, we might want to be aware that they might have challenges in processing visual input. 

Given these conclusions, the more we can continue to develop technology solutions that can teach while detecting deficiencies and adapt to student needs “on the fly,” the better we will be able to individualize instruction, fill in gaps in learning and strengthen essential skills.

As these scientists continue their investigations and the research sheds more light on how reading affects brain processing, we as educators will continue to increase our abilities to make better targeted instructional decisions that will help every individual student achieve optimal success.

[i] Dehaene, Stanislas. Reading in the Brain. Penguin Viking Publishing. November, 2009.

[ii] Dehaene, Stanislas et. al.How Learning to Read Changes the Cortical Networks for Vision and Language. 2010.

Related Reading:

How Learning to Read Improves Brain Function

The Essential Nature of Developing Oral Reading Fluency

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Categories: Education Trends, Reading & Learning

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Student Reading Improvement Nearly Doubles In Just 24 Days

This video summarizes a study of Fast ForWord Reading 1—the first product in Scientific Learning’s Fast ForWord Reading Series.

The study is a randomized controlled trial that investigated the impact of Fast ForWord Reading 1 in three elementary schools.  The analyses that follow include data from 208 students in 1st and 2nd grade.

Students were randomly assigned to be in either the Fast ForWord group or the control group.  The randomization was stratified within grade.

Students using Fast ForWord trained for 48 minutes per day for an average of 24 school days.  Both groups were evaluated using the Test of Phonological Awareness, or the “TOPA” for short. 

There were two subtests: one for Phonological Awareness, and one for Letter-Sounds.

For each subtest, the Fast ForWord participants showed greater gains between pre-test and post-test than the control group.  These differences were both statistically significant.

In conclusion, Fast ForWord participation led to significantly larger improvements than the control group in both the Phonological Awareness and Letter Sounds subtests.

In both cases, the magnitude of the gains was about double for Fast ForWord participants: 12.8 points versus 6.9 for Phonological Awareness, and 5.5 versus 1.9 points for Letter Sounds.

Related Reading:

Fast ForWord Featured on ABC 7 News

After Just 24 Days, Summer School Students Significantly Improve Reading Scores

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

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Calculating a Response to Dyscalculia: What to Do When Your Child is “Number Blind”

Dyscalculia

Do you know any children or adults who struggle with math?  Perhaps they have difficulty with basic math skills and seem unable to understand what math process to use with which problem.  Maybe they are unable to organize objects in a logical way or have difficulty with measurement of either time or money.  If you know people with these types of struggles, they may have dyscalculia.

Dyscalculia, also called “number blindness” or “numerical blindness,” is a learning disability that inhibits a person's ability to use and have a proper sense of numbers.  Literally meaning “bad counting,” dyscalculia is estimated to impact three to six percent of the population so is just as prevalent as dyslexia but often goes undiagnosed since those with this disability often excel in reading and other subject areas. 

Many people believe that math can be a difficult subject to teach or that some students just don’t “get it”.  But for those who truly have dyscalculia, it is not about how the subject is taught; it is a lack of number sense.  Two main areas of weakness may contribute to this learning disability: visual-spatial issues and language processing difficulties.  With visual-spatial weaknesses, the learner has a problem processing what the eye sees so he or she may have difficulty visualizing patterns or parts of a math problem.  Making sense of what the ear hears is the issue with language processing weakness which leads to a hard time grasping math vocabulary and building on math knowledge since there is a difficulty in understanding what the words represent.

Identification of any learning disability requires a trained professional who can evaluate a student to determine areas of strengths and weaknesses in learning.  An in-depth assessment compares what the student’s expected level of performance is to what he or she actually can do in areas of mathematical skill and understanding.  It also is helpful for at least an overview of this information to be shared with the student (especially the strengths) since knowing how you learn best is a good way to help students learn to compensate for difficulties and to build academic success and confidence.

So what can be done for those who have dyscalculia?  The first step is for parents, teachers and other educational specialists to use the evaluation results to develop strategies to address the student’s math skills.  Some will benefit from additional tutoring that adjusts the learning pace and focuses on specific areas of difficulty with repeated reinforcement of key skills.  For those with visual-spatial weaknesses, using graph paper can be helpful for organizing ideas and for those with language processing issues, clear explanations and frequent checks for understanding are important.  And, as with most students with learning disabilities, having all of the needed materials and working in a place with limited distractions is always a good idea!

As with any learning disability, the earlier that the dyscalculia can be identified and remediated, the greater the chance that your child will stay on track or stay motivated to catch up.  Talking with your child’s teacher is the best place to start so make that call or, if the teacher has contacted you, be open to their concerns.    As your child’s advocate, you can help make the difference in gaining access to the right resources to help your child work through learning challenges and achieve academic success.

Want more information on dyscalculia?  Here are some online resources:

What is Dyscalculia?

Number Blindness – More Common that Dyslexia

Dyscalculia.org

Related Reading:

What is Number Sense and How Does it Relate to Math Skills?

Do Teachers Give Students Math Anxiety?

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Forecasting ROI from Fast ForWord® and Reading Assistant™ Products

Return on Investment, or “ROI” is a straightforward concept.  With educational interventions, we invest something (typically time, money, or energy) and receive some benefit. 

The primary benefit of investing time, money, and energy in Fast ForWord® and Reading Assistant™ products is increased student achievement.  This benefit has always been a focus for Scientific Learning.   However, in our discussions with customers, we realized that many district stakeholders had a parallel benefit that they are concerned with: the financial impact on their district as a whole.  We decided to see if we could address and quantify this parallel (and perhaps complementary) view of ROI.

We identified four areas where data suggest that implementation of Scientific Learning products can impact a district’s financial costs:

  • Reduction of the high school dropout rate
  • Reduction of referrals to special education
  • Reduction of the number of students who require ELL services
  • Reduction of the number of students classified as “struggling readers”

Here’s an example of how we tried to quantify one of these benefits.  A district in Swartz Creek, Michigan observed a 30% drop year-over-year in special education referrals after implementing Fast ForWord products with their students. To be safe, we chose a very statistically conservative estimate for the reduction a new customer might expect to see in their special education referral rates: 21.2%.  Technically, we got this by looking at the lower bound of a 95% confidence interval for the effect based on the Swartz Creek data.  

These estimates led to the creation of Scientific Learning’s Return on Investment Tool.  The tool estimates the ROI—that is, the true financial cost—of using Scientific Learning products over a three year horizon.  This includes the initial software purchase and three years of product support. Note that we often see ROIs greater than 100% (i.e. a net financial benefit) for medium to large implementations with lots of students.

If we take a look at a three-year ROI for a large implementation, in year one the costs exceed the financial benefits, but in subsequent years the products more than pay for themselves.  Actual estimates will depend greatly on the individual district and the scope of the implementation. 

To get an ROI estimate for your school or district, contact us.

Related Reading:

Over 45% Relative Improvement in Students Reaching Proficiency

79% of ELL Students Increase Proficiency by One or More Levels

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Categories: Education Trends, English Language Learners, Fast ForWord, Reading & Learning, Reading Assistant, Scientific Learning Research, Special Education

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Fast ForWord Featured on ABC 7 News

For those of you who missed the ABC 7 News spot last night, here's another chance to hear the success story of students at Korematsu Discovery Academy in Oakland, CA, who have seen reading test gains of 1.5 years, on average, since beginning the Fast ForWord program earlier this year. 

"You don't normally see that kind of gains," said the school's principal, Charles Wilson. "And it's not the kids fault, it's the system's fault for not providing the interventions that they need."

Wilson made the program available to his students for the first time this year with a $30,000 tech grant he received from the district.  He is now working on getting another grant to extend the program to all students at his school next year.

Scientific Learning's own Dr. Bill Jenkins is featured as well, discussing the science behind the program.

For parents interested in home use, learn about our BrainPro service which provides Fast ForWord software and an online tutor.

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

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Tapping the Source: Finding and Using the Innate Student Passion for Learning

Innate student passion

In a previous post, I began an exploration of methods for increasing student motivation. We delved into Daniel Pink’s model of motivation that he describes in his book, Drive, and how motivation arises most effectively when a project or task addresses three internal emotional variables at the same time: autonomy, mastery and purpose.

Along with Pink, another great contemporary thinker, writer and speaker in the world of education is Mark Prensky, who coined the idea of “digital natives” and “digital immigrants” (now well-known across the education technology community) to characterize how technology advances have completely changed the way students learn in a single generation. Like Pink, Prensky is a student of the mind who has dedicated his career to exploring and developing ideas to help educators help their students learn as effectively and purposefully as possible.

In a recent piece, Blame Our Young? Or Use Their Passion!, Prensky briefly references how we try to motivate the next generation to succeed through hitting them hard with the message that the future is in their hands. Prensky cites President Obama, Colin Powell and Newt Gingrich for all using this technique of heaping responsibility upon our youth. An excellent example of this style can be seen in President Obama’s 2009 speech given at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. It was a wonderful talk, to be sure, and it was historic in that it was one of those rare moments when a president has directed an entire speech to our nation’s young people. In that address, Obama talked about how our youth had the opportunity to make choices to help build their own futures, as well as to contribute to helping make our nation become great.

Still, let’s face it: as wonderful as those sentiments might sound to adults, to a young person, that is a daunting amount of responsibility. According to Prensky’s thinking, this kind of discipline-based, “the weight of the future is in your hands” approach to motivation does not come from within, and for this reason, is bound to generally fail. If you think about it, middle schoolers have a hard enough time worrying about next week, much less what might be coming in five or ten years.

“What if,” he ponders, “instead, we asked the kids what their passion is, and invited them to follow and use that passion as a gateway to all kinds of learning—learning that will help our country and the world.” (Prensky, p. 2)

What if we were to really take the time to ask what our students were passionate about and then used that as jumping off points for greater learning? If a student loves music, fantastic! We can use that to talk about history, mathematics and acoustics. If a student is interested in boats, excellent! Now we have a great place to launch into conversations about history, technology, geography and ecology. What? Janie loves dogs? Wonderful, let’s talk about all those wonderful breeds and the genetics (and by extension, mathematics) behind all their beautiful differences.

Considering that due to our different neurological wirings each of us perceives the world differently, the conclusion that a true, long-lasting passion for learning must come from within seems obvious. How can we expect every student—each with his or her own completely unique perspective on the universe—to learn in the same way?

This is why it is so essential for educators to help students find and pursue their passions. We can teach math or science or geography in the classroom until we’re blue in the face. Some students may absorb the lessons, some may not. If, on the other hand, we can help our students find the links between their passions and these same lessons, then we create a direct connection between the essential content and something they truly and deeply care about, helping motivate the student to not only continue learning, but strive for individual excellence.

According to Prensky, “Wherever this (passion-based learning) has been tried—in scattered public, private and charter schools, and even MIT—it has been a resounding success. Kids flock to be part of something that allows them to follow their own interests.” (Prensky, p. 2) In case you hadn’t noticed, we have come full circle back to Pink’s elements of motivation—autonomy, mastery and purpose—and using that innate passion to help encourage students to take ownership of and responsibility for their learning.

In today’s age of technology-based classrooms, with our ability to have self-directed discovery and learning so integrated into the learning experience, we have the opportunity for educators to assume more of the role of coach and less of the role of lecturer. In so doing, we can help our students identify and tap into the very core of the topics that genuinely interest them and give them the learning tools to pursue those topics. At that point, once we uncover those passions, we then have an immediate in-road into the mind of each student and a pathway we can travel with each individual as they explore the world around them and begin to figure out how to make it better.

Further reading:

Prensky, Marc. Blame Our Young! Or Use Their Passion? We can do better than just laying the responsibility for solving our nation’s problems on the backs of our kids. 2010.

Prensky, Marc.  What I Learned Recently In New York City Classrooms: How to keep all kids busily engaged at all times. 2010.

Related Reading:

Individualizing Instruction Through Understanding Different Types of Learners

Teaching Creativity in the Classroom

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Individualizing Instruction Through Understanding Different Types of Learners

Individualized instruction

For an educator, getting to know each learner is like experiencing a new book. Every child—every mind that comes into the classroom—represents a new discovery with every turn of the page, their own way of seeing and experiencing the world, and they each bring a unique library of experiences, hopes, fears and dreams.

Now, while that makes for a poetic discussion about the wonderful variety among students, it also makes for a practical challenge in helping every one of these individuals achieve their greatest potential. How can an educator present information such that all of these learners—with all their different world views and brain wirings—will get the most out of the school experience?

Researchers have generated multiple models of the mind, each providing its own way of understanding how we can conceptualize and leverage learning differences in the classroom. Such categories are simply ways for us to classify students and ensure that we are reaching every one as effectively as possible.

All these models strive to answer one single question: How does each individual learner experience and process the world around them? Academics have spent great energies on unlocking these secrets and developing models of how we learn. A quick trip through just a few of these theories (and there are many other theories out there) gives us an idea of the breadth of ideas posed by experts of note since the 1980s:

  • David Kolb described four types of learners: convergers (who develop abstract concepts and then actively experiment), divergers (who experience the world and then reflect on their observations), assimilators (who develop abstract concepts and then observe and reflect), and accommodators (who experience the world and then actively experiment).
  • Honey and Mumford labeled learners as activists, reflectors, theorists and pragmatists.
  • Anthony Gregorc described how people perceive the world in two ways (concrete and abstract) and order the world in two ways (random and sequential), and developed a model with four learner types based on the possible combinations of these qualities.
  • Fleming’s model described learners as visual, auditory, read-write or kinesthetic, classifying learners by the kind of information that they most effectively assimilate.
  • Howard Gardner described eight different “intelligences,” including linguistic, logical/mathematical, spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalist.

 

In looking at these frameworks as a group, they all converge in certain ways and diverge in others. But one element remains consistent throughout, and that is the motivation for having them in the first place. There is a clear practical need for such frameworks in the classroom. Education is not a one-on-one teacher/learner proposition. As much as we would like, we as educators simply cannot provide fully individualized instruction for every student in a classroom of twenty or thirty.

The art and science of classifying how the human brain processes and learns is and will constantly change as we discover more and more about how the brain works. Whichever model or models are applied in the classroom (and again, the best educators will have a deep enough command of each of these models to leverage the best of each), it is up to educators to ensure that each learner is developing and cultivating the same set of core, fundamental cognitive skills: memory (the ability to store information), attention (the ability to focus on tasks and filter out distractions), processing (how fast a student can perceive and manipulate information), and sequencing (how accurately a student can order information).  These four key cognitive skill sets, when developed together, have been demonstrated to improve learning and reading. Thus, any teaching we do based on learner classifications must support the development of these skills.

That said, if these classifications add power and efficiency to the way we impart these skills to our students and classes, then we should make use of them as much as possible. In the end, any tricks we can use, any knowledge we can leverage, any technique we can employ—if the research demonstrates it to be effective—represents a valid bit of knowledge that we can use to help our students succeed.

Learn more about the four essential cognitive skills of memory, attention, processing, and sequencing. For further reading:

Kolb, D. A. 1984. Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Honey, P & Mumford, A, (1982). The Manual of Learning Styles. Maidenhead, UK: Peter Honey Publications.

Mills, D. W. (2002). Applying what we know: Student learning styles. Retrieved May 22, 2011.:

Gardner, Howard (1983; 1993) Frames of Mind: The theory of multiple intelligences, New York: Basic Books. Second edition published in Britain by Fontana Press.

Related Reading:

Inspiring Students to Dream, Learn and Grow

AMPing Up Our Teaching to Increase Intrinsic Student Motivation

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Categories: Brain Research, Reading & Learning

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The Magical Combination of Love and Limits: Tips for Teaching Positive Behavior

Teaching positive behavior

Young children have so much to learn about life.  One crucial skill they work very hard at learning is how to get what they want or need in a positive way. 

Toddlers do not have very much control and for the most part cannot “think out” appropriate ways to handle frustration or anger. Your little one year old will act impulsively when he is angry with you or other children and may use inappropriate or unacceptable behaviors in response. This often becomes even more exaggerated when your child is tired. The calm, consistent and measured way that you and other caregivers respond to negative behaviors will shape your child’s ability to gradually develop self-control and learn appropriate ways to handle stressful social situations.  

Hitting and biting, as well as pushing, throwing toys, books, sand or mud, and yelling or temper outbursts continue to be treated as unacceptable behaviors you want to handle by enforcing time-outs immediately after the event occurs. Waiting even a few minutes to enforce a time-out makes it difficult for a toddler to understand what the time-out is for. Once your child has calmed down you can bring her back into the situation she was removed from. As she plays appropriately you can provide a little praise to help her understand the difference between positive behaviors and her prior unacceptable behavior.

By 18-20 months of age, begin to teach your toddler the word “sorry” so that if she does show an unacceptable behavior toward another child or an adult, she learns to pair an apology to the offended person with the behavior.  This provides a verbal scaffold with the action so that the child is building language to help his learning.  

You may often find that because of your fatigue and frustration with a young child who does not yet have very much self control you become tempted to yell or spank your child. You are human just as is your child and these are natural tendencies.  But, try to avoid yelling at your child or resorting to slaps, shaking or spanking in response to a negative behavior. By using a calm but firm voice with your toddler and the consistent response of moving your child to a quiet area removed from the current situation (time-out) you will model the kind behavior you are trying to instill in your child and give him, and yourself, time to calm down.

If your toddler seems to show temper outbursts very frequently or does not respond to timeouts and the undesirable behaviors continue, consult your physician to rule out physical problems that might be causing pain or discomfort. If those do not seem likely or have been ruled out, you may want to consult with a behavior specialist. These professionals can help you develop consistent, constructive approaches for managing the behavior of your toddler. A few sessions with a good child behavior specialist could save you time and money in the future if the negative behaviors persist or increase during the toddler years.

As your child progresses through the first year, continue to set limits for special types of play activity and behaviors that might be appropriate in some situations but not in others. For example, a child needs to have plenty of exercise but there are situations where your child may have to sit still. A dentist’s chair, the first haircut, airplane take-offs and landings are situations where your child needs to limit physical activity. Similarly, restaurants and other public places provide excellent opportunities to teach your child polite behavior and consideration of others. There are situations where it is acceptable to play with toys and others where it might not be, like a church service or solemn occasion, for example.

Setting limits teaches your toddler to be considerate and thoughtful of others and helps build social skills.  When your toddler learns how to use constructive behaviors to reach her goals, she will feel happier and more in control, and so will you.

Related Reading:

Traveling with a Toddler

Early Learning Success Leads to a Leg Up in Life

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Categories: Family Focus, Reading & Learning

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The Essential Nature of Developing Oral Reading Fluency

Oral reading fluency

As we head into summer break, the farthest thing from most of our minds is the first day of school. That said, that day is surely on its way. And while day one is always unpredictable, the kindergarten and first grade teachers know that better than anyone: you never know what skills those students will have when they come in the door.

While evaluating each student’s capabilities is by no means an easy task, we can get a head start through having a solid understanding of how the brain learns best and under what conditions. If we can understand that, we can more effectively direct children’s learning and give them what their hungry brains need so they learn with optimal effectiveness.

When it comes to reading skills, children show up on that first day of school with an incredible variety of experience. Many have parents who have read to them every day since day one. Many have constant access to books and other materials to promote pre-literacy. At the same time, many have parents with busy lives who have not made that commitment to reading, or parents who simply do not understand the importance of these early literacy experiences and simply to not cultivate these skills. Judgment aside, it is up to educators in these classrooms to apply the latest research-based knowledge to ensure success for each student and bring the class along as a whole as effectively as possible.

Of course, standardized assessments help us to zero in on needs. But even once we understand those needs, how can an educator focus their efforts to cultivate success for a group with disparate skill levels? One way, as stated above, is to understand the brain and how it builds skills. What are the first skills that educators should focus on in terms of reading skills so that students can continue to build success?

A study in 2010 by Young-Suk Kim, Christopher Schatschneider and Barbara Foorman of Florida State University and Yaacov Petscher, all in association with the Florida Center for Reading Research, posed this very question. Their study looked at how growth in oral reading fluency, vocabulary, phonological awareness, letter-naming fluency, and nonsense word reading fluency skills related to reading comprehension skills.

Interestingly, through their study of all these skills areas or “predictors,” they learned that the greatest predictor of a child’s ability to develop comprehension skills by the third grade was their growth rate in oral reading fluency early on in the first grade.[i]

This study tells us that, as early as possible in first grade, educators need to both get a bearing on each student’s oral reading fluency capabilities and encourage development of those skills as quickly as possible to lay the foundation for the development of subsequent skills.

That said, from a practical perspective, what kinds of activities are best for developing oral reading fluency? Here are a few:

  • Modeling: Reading to children allows them to hear the sound, rhythm and phrasing of language.
  • Vocabulary Development: Since fluency depends upon the reader’s ability to quickly recognize and decode words on sight, having a solid vocabulary foundation and a bank of sight words to draw upon is key.
  • Choral Reading: Reading along out loud with a student and following along in a text together allows educators to help students experience hearing and sounding out words at the same time.
  • Silent Sustained Reading (SSR): Through SSR students get the freedom to develop their own taste for reading, unfettered by the pressures and anxieties of reading aloud. SSR both increases motivation and ability to focus.
  • Guided Oral Reading: Oral reading by a student with guidance and feedback from a patient coach allows children to apply and build their phonics skills to sound out words and helps them crack the alphabetic code. Repetitive oral reading helps these children increase their familiarity with vocabulary and pronunciation while increasing reading fluency. The connection between reading fluency and comprehension is strong, in part because it facilitates the efficient use of language working memory.

Part of the wonder and excitement of being an elementary school teacher certainly comes from that experience of getting to know the new set of students, with all their smiles and faults, talents and deficiencies. If we can focus on—and have some fun with—developing oral reading fluency with our youngest students, research shows that we should be setting each individual, as well as the class as a whole, on the road to reading success.

For more detail on the above methods and access to helpful reading resources and to learn how computers can provide accurate, patient guided oral reading for all students, visit http://www.scilearn.com/products/reading-assistant/.

[i] Kim, Y S. Petscher, Y. Schatschneider, C. Does growth Rate in Oral Reading Fluency Matter in Predicting Reading Comprehension Achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology. 2010. 102:3. 652-667.

Related Reading:

Engaging Children in the World with Words

How Learning to Read Improves Brain Function

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7 Amazing Discoveries from Brain Research

Brain research

As the webinar coordinator and moderator here at Scientific Learning, I’ve had the privilege of hearing many wonderful speakers on a variety of compelling topics.  Of all of the webinars I’ve presided over, one of my favorites was the one presented by Eric Jensen in September, 2010, titled “7 Amazing Discoveries from Brain Research.” For that webinar, our most highly-attended ever, Eric took complex concepts about the brain and made them more “user friendly” and interesting.  At the end of the session, I was excited to go learn and study more on my own about the brain and how it functions!

Of the seven discoveries presented in this webinar, the one that I found to be most intriguing was the concept that our emotions can influence our minds and bodies.  For years, people have discussed the connection between emotions and the body but now there is research being done that proves that there is indeed a link.  For example, one study cited in this webinar indicates that there are approximately 6 – 8 emotions that are innate and the rest are taught by parents, teachers, friends, technology, etc.  If children aren’t given the opportunity to learn about a wide range of emotions, this gives them not only  less of an ability to handle conflicts and issues that might come up for them but could hinder their learning process.

To learn more about brain research discoveries that can help you in the classroom and beyond, be sure to check out the recorded webinar

To learn more about Eric Jensen, visit the Jensen Learning website.

Related Reading:

Brain Plasticity: Using Advances in Technology for Better Living

You Unplugged: Finding Balance with Extended Reading, Writing, and Thinking Time

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