Friday, March 26, 2010

The Reading Brain

Thinking outside the box from our own disciplines.

Children need to read their own thoughts while they read. They have to reach their potential.

There's no such thing as an ideal reading brain.

How does the brain learn something new?
  • Ability to form new connections - neuroplasticity; taking older structures and making new arrangement; each child needs to make these connections to make the reading brain.
  • capacity for "working groups" of neurons to specialize (e.g., pattern recognition). The brain can rearrange itself in multiple ways to read (Bulger, Perfetti & Scneider)
  • capacity for automatization
We teachers need to stop thinking in binary approaches. You don't see things in one way or the other. We need to teach our students to connect the circuits.

The brain takes time. We're pushing our children too fast. There's no reading center in our brains. Concepts in first language are essential platform for concepts and vocabulary in second language.

Reading never just happens.

Everything matters:
  • Visual and auditory development
  • cognitive development
  • Language development
  • Social development
  • Emotional development
Ortographic Parts: Letters/Letter Patterns
Semantic System
Vocabulary development
Semantic breadth and depth
polysemy (multiple meanings) and Semantic flexibility

50% of the early words children learn have multiple meanings. You need to learn from the start the different meanings.

The more activition, the more easily and more quickly, the words are read. How well are the words known?

Word Poverty - economically and educationally disadvantaged children may have one-half the oral language vocabulary that is typical of children from middle-class.

Importance of morphology: orthographic, semantic, and syntactic information (jam, jams, jamming, unjammed). Knowing about morphemes helps with understanding and syntax and ortography.

Morpheme awareness - giving semantic and meaning information.

Syntax Matters - Children need to be prepared for the roles the words play. The more you know about a word, the faster you will read and comprehend that word.

When you're reading, you're putting your circuit together and then something magical happens: there's a moment of pause and all the other info comes together. We need to read fast enough so that we can think their own thoughts (Proust).

The dyslexic brain thinks differently. Many successful entrepreneurs are dyslexic. We, as educators, have to learn how to teach them right.

  • Intervention must address:
  • development of each recruited structure (phonemes, syntax)
  • system connections
  • automaticity
  • time to comprehend and think new thoughts
RAVE-O program
The development of representations in all and each process that contributes to reading:
The connections among these processes: (MIM - Many Interesting Meanings - think flexibly about the meanings) bat-batter-hit-batman

The reading brain in a digital age: the children are in this sense of suspended reading action and going in a deeper reading process. They are always going, going, going...We're in a constant battle of getting more information. We're surfers of knowledge.

Socrates: print would give the illusion of truth and create no ambtion in the young beyond the superfluity of knowledge.

We need to be concerned by the development of our deeper reading skills.

We're after deep reading processes. Think through deeply, analyzing, . Developmental process of thinking. A brain with two languages is always better than a brain with one.

      Plenary Session with Dr. Maryanne Wolfe at the TESOL Conference, Boston 2010


    1. These ideas sound just like my notes from the TESOL conference. I think it would be a good idea to reference Dr. Wolfe.

    2. You are right. I did that in my other notes. It was because I was blogging real time and forgot to add the reference. Thanks for the reminder!


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