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Music & Language Lead to Efficient Brain

Language Magazine – Staff Writer

“A new study reveals that bilinguals and trained musicians utilize fewer resources in their brains while doing tasks involving memory. This means that it’s easier for them to do so. As their brains use less effort to perform tasks, researchers infer that their musical and bilingual brains may protect them from the onset of cognitive decline later in life..” (more)

Massive Study Confirms Teens’ Grammar Expertise

Language Magazine – Staff Writer

“After years of research suggesting that the “critical period” to learn ends before the age of 10, an enormous new study of well over half a million learners suggests that children remain very skilled at learning the grammar of a new language much longer than expected—up to the age of 17 or 18. However, the study also found that it is very difficult for people to achieve proficiency similar to that of a native speaker unless they start learning a language by the age of 10.” (more)

Study: Kids Who Struggle With Executive Function Vastly More Likely to Experience Academic Difficulties

The 74 Million – Kevin Mahnken

“Kindergartners who experience deficits in executive function — a set of cognitive skills that allow people to plan, solve problems, and control impulses — are much more likely to face academic difficulties in elementary school, according to a new working paper that was presented to the American Educational Research Association’s annual meeting Friday. In math alone, their odds of struggling by third grade are increased fivefold, authors find.” (more)

Talking with—Not Just to—Kids Powers How They Learn Language

Scientific American – Claudia Wallis

“Children from the poorer strata of society begin life not only with material disadvantages but cognitive ones. Decades of research have confirmed this, including a famous 1995 finding by psychologists Betty Hart and Todd Risley: By age four children reared in poverty have heard 30 million fewer words, on average, than their peers from wealthier families. That gap has been linked to shakier language skills at the start of school, which, in turn, predicts weaker academic performance.” (more)

Orange County parents opt to put children in language immersion programs

Los Angeles Times – Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil

“‘They’re learning how to speak English anyway, so it’s really no different for them to learn other languages at the time,” said Carrie Mizera, executive director of Renascence School International, a tri-lingual English, Spanish and Mandarin immersion program in Costa Mesa. “Their brains are really, really absorbent at that time, and that’s why we want to capture this opportunity and teach multiple languages.'” (more)

Progress in reading stalls at secondary school. It should be a priority

The Guardian – Keith Topping

“We have a persistent problem encouraging secondary school pupils to read challenging and age-appropriate books. The tenth annual What Kids Are Reading Report, which analysed the reading habits of almost one million school pupils from 4,364 schools that use the Accelerated Reader assessment programme, found that this is true across Britain and Ireland. The report revealed that progress made by pupils in primary school halts when they transfer to secondary school and, from then on, the gap between students’ reading ability and their age grows wider each year. Worryingly, by the later years of secondary school many students are reading books that are no harder than those in primary school.” (more)