Feb 26, 2013 by Cara Gipson

struggling readers

It’s exciting when a child learns to read—combining letters and sounds to form words for the first time until they’re stringing those words together to create sentences. But what happens when a child goes from “getting by” in the early grades to struggling in adolescence when cognitive demand increases along with the difficulty of required texts?

How Adolescent Learning is Different

There are important differences between childhood and adolescent brain function, and developmentally appropriate regression in abilities such as impulse control can affect adolescent learning.

Dr. Martha Burns’ webinar “Reading and the Adolescent Brain: What Works?” provides research-based insights for busy educators interested in the science of adolescent learning. Tune in and discover…

  • What changes in the adolescent braincan affect academics, attention and other cognitive skills?
  • Why does the adolescent learner often plateau and in some cases even decrease in certain skills? 
  • Why are so many reading interventions failing to make a difference, and what can be done?

Understanding what’s happening in the adolescent brain can give you the tools to educate your students, support them in their struggles, and provide the help they need to get back on track academically.

Why Reading Interventions Fail

One reason that many reading interventions may not work for the adolescent learner is that they fail to provide the cognitive skills and oral reading practice required for reading fluency. Research shows that using the Fast ForWord program has been correlated with positive neurological changes in the brain corresponding to the cognitive skills that underlie reading.

By incorporating the use of the Fast ForWord programto build cognitive skills and the Reading Assistant programto ensure sufficient reading practice, you can help your adolescent students jumpstart their reading progress instead of remaining stagnant. Dr. Burns takes you on a detailed tour of how these programs strengthen cognitive skills, fluency and comprehension; reinforce learning; and shorten the time it takes to achieve significant milestones in achievement. 

Changing the Future

Advanced literacy skillsare needed not only in order to succeed in college but also to obtain and hold future jobs. When a teen is struggling in the present, it becomes more difficult for them to see a bright future, often causing them to erect a protective wall against learning and life. Informed educators can help transform these struggles into victory.