Post by Admin on Jul 3, 2014 11:31:23 GMT -6
I purchased a new 2014 book by Dr. David Sousa called "How the Brain Learns to Read, Second Edition" and so far, I've been thoroughly impressed with it. I think this book gives a great overview of what we now know about the neuroscience of reading. He mentions the work of Dr. Sally Shaywitz, Dr, Stanislas Dehaene, Dr. Virginia Berninger, etc., to name just a few. This book is easy to read and gives great insights on our current understanding, the implications for reading instruction, how to recognize and remediate reading problems, etc. I highly recommend this book for school psychologists, resource teachers, and reading teachers alike. There are some great strategies for teaching reading comprehension and critical thinking.
For a more in-depth discussion about the research studies that support how the brain learns to read, I also recommend the book written by Dr. Stanislas Dehaene entitled "Reading in the Brain: the New Science of How We Read," published by Penguin Books in 2009. There is a fascinating chapter about the brain's left occipito-temporal Visual Word Form Area (VWFA) or "Letterbox," how its damage can cause pure alexia, how it uses serial processing of letters, word parts, and finally words, from the posterior to the anterior part of the Letterbox. Moreover, beginning readers process orthographic features differently than experienced readers, who process words automatically using parallel processing. A very important point is that we perceive letters faster and more accurately in the right visual field because of the more direct route to the Letterbox in the left hemisphere of the brain. This means that teaching children to read words in the right visual field (i.e., to the right side of centre) may enhance their learning. The book also considers why all children reverse letters and words as they learn to write between the ages of 5 and 6 years, and how the brain changes our evolved natural symmetry in visual processing toward that of discriminating the left and right orientations of letters. He also has an interesting chapter on dyslexia, which considers both phonological awareness and visual processing problems resulting from inherited genes that disrupt the migration and subsequent organization of neurons in the left hemisphere, along with disorganized white matter connections, and some disconnections from the visual/auditory sensory signals from the thalamus in males with dyslexia. A subsequent article by Dr. Dehaene is a good summary of some of this work. It can be found at this link: Inside the Letterbox.
An older but still enormously valuable book is the one entitled "Brain Literacy for Educators and Psychologists" by Virginia Berninger & Todd Richards, published in 2002 by Academic Press. Two vital chapters include (a) Chapter 5 - Building a Reading Brain Neurologically, and (b) Chapter 8 - Building a Reading Brain Pedagogically. You will not be disappointed reading these two chapters if you want to understand how the brain processes reading, and how to design reading interventions based on brain research. Regarding the latter, they are the only authors I've seen so far to recommend the explicit development of linguistic awareness, which includes (a) phonological awareness, (b) orthographic awareness, and (c) morphological awareness. Most others only mention phonological awareness. Moreover, a layering of instructional components close in time in working memory facilitates brain activation and faster learning.