Monday, February 23, 2009

Some Children Left Behind: How Brain Imaging Can Change the Way We Think About Appropriate Ages for Childhood Literacy

"New scientific findings spell difference, not disability, for struggling readers."


  1. How interesting!

    The article gives an example of something else poor readers struggle with, but I know that sometimes in situations like this they may excel in other areas where strong readers do not. Have you found anything like that?

    Also... what are they suggesting teachers do differently? I'm all for letting a child learn at their own pace, but if they're still not reading by nine, they will no doubt struggle in all subjects with the textbook heavy curriculum in place now.

    Fun stuff, can't wait to hear your presentation!

  2. This is really neat! I am not sure that I completely understand why/how the inability for water to flow over neurons affects one's ability to read. The actual explanation in the article of what the neurological findings were was a bit unclear to me and I would love to hear about it in more depth! I share Amie's second question, and would like to know what suggestions these scientists had for teachers?

  3. The children who have greater trouble learning to read because of white matter; are they merely slower at learning to read or do they have trouble understanding/making sense of the material? Also, what other areas of life does this condition affect for children, besides learning to read?

  4. That's really cool! I also don't really understand the water/neurons thing, but it would be interesting to find out more detail on that bit. I'm curious about what kind of environment the kids were raised in - were they encouraged to read all the time? was there some kind of curriculum they all followed? I'm excited to hear more!

  5. "Specifically, Wandell's team found that in poor readers, water tends to flow more easily across the axonal membranes in the back portion of the corpus callosum -- the thick band of neurons that connects the brain's hemispheres. "The piece of the brain that's important for detecting moving objects and patterns wasn't functioning as well in the kids who were poor readers," Wandell says."

    This is interesting but I would like to know more about the connection between this band of neurons and age. are they suggesting that this area of the brain is still underdeveloped at a young age? Or are some people just naturally better readers than others?