When a child struggles to read, we often scrutinise social or economic factors, access to books or the home environment as possible reasons for their difficulties. While each of these factors can be relevant, treatable brain differences are often overlooked as part of the equation.
What does this mean? First, left-brain activity in struggling readers is often under connected. This part of the brain helps people process and make the connection between letters and sounds, or phonemes. More specifically, scientists have been able to tie certain areas of the brain with reading ability. For instance, while struggling readers may not have vision problems, differences in the occipital lobe, the part of the brain that helps us understand what we see, can prevent them from recognising individual letters or words when they see them. Also, students with phonological processing issues often show less activity in the Broca’s Area, which is associated with speaking (or reading) words and grammatical sentences aloud.
There is hope for struggling readers. New research backs the notion of brain plasticity, the ability for the brain to change at a neurological level. And perhaps even more exciting are neuroscience-derived strategies and tools that may build up the regions of the left hemisphere responsible for perception of speech sounds, working memory and oral language skills.
Here’s how to help struggling readers change their brain physiology and, in the process, become successful, confident readers:
- Check for discrimination of similar sounds, such as pig, peg and peck. Children must first identify differences in sounds before being able to learn which sound goes with each letter. Studies show that being able to make these distinctions is linked to success in reading.
- Provide instruction that is intense, motivating and frequent. Brain change occurs when a task is done frequently, is motivating and allows for repeated practice.
- Build vocabulary from an early age. Students who are exposed to more words as toddlers and young children have greater pre-reading skills when they get to school.
- Have students work on listening accuracy, auditory sequencing and phonological memory.
Get a free demo and learn how it works to improve language and reading skills at BrainFit Studio Bangkok.
Editor’s note: This article is sponsored content from BrainFit Studio Bangkok.