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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)

Why Children Learn Foreign Languages So Easily?

Brain Blogger – Viatcheslav Wlassoff, PhD

“Many researchers believe that learning foreign language before the puberty and even better earlier allows children to speak more fluently, almost like native speakers. In addition, learning more than one language at early age improves lifelong ability to communicate with others and contributes to cognitive development and cultural awareness. Many studies suggest that the best time to introduce a foreign language is before the age of ten. At this early stage of life language is learned and acquired faster, retained better, and spoken with exceptional pronunciation. It is widely accepted that the younger the learners, the more successful they are at imitating new sounds.” (more)

Back-and-forth exchanges boost children’s brain response to language

Medical X-Press – Anne Trafton

“A landmark 1995 study found that children from higher-income families hear about 30 million more words during their first three years of life than children from lower-income families. This “30-million-word gap” correlates with significant differences in tests of vocabulary, language development, and reading comprehension. MIT cognitive scientists have now found that conversation between an adult and a child appears to change the child’s brain, and that this back-and-forth conversation is actually more critical to language development than the word gap.” (more)

The Gap Between The Science On Kids And Reading, And How It Is Taught

NPR – Claudio Sanchez

“Mark Seidenberg is not the first researcher to reach the stunning conclusion that only a third of the nation’s schoolchildren read at grade level. The reasons are numerous, but one that Seidenberg cites over and over again is this: The way kids are taught to read in school is disconnected from the latest research, namely how language and speech actually develop in a child’s brain.” (more)

How to boost your brain

Medical News Today – Hannah Nichols

“Do you want to improve your mind in 2018? We have compiled the best methods to boost brain power, improve memory, build new neural connections, ignite learning, and enhance cognitive function.” (more)

Being bilingual may help autistic children

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) often have a hard time switching gears from one task to another. But being bilingual may actually make it a bit easier for them to do so, according to a new study which was recently published in Child Development. “This is a novel and surprising finding,” says Prof. Aparna Nadig, the senior author of the paper, from the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at McGill University.” (more)