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How instruction changes brain circuitry with struggling readers

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“The early years are when the brain develops the most, forming neural connections that pave the way for how a child — and the eventual adult — will express feelings, embark on a task, and learn new skills and concepts. Scientists have even theorized that the anatomical structure of neural connections forms the basis for how children identify letters and recognize words. In other words, the brain’s architecture may predetermine who will have trouble with reading, including children with dyslexia.” (more)

Early Language Key to School Success

Language Magazine – Kim Echart

“Language, in other words, supports academic and social success, says Amy Pace, an assistant professor in the University of Washington Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, which led the study, published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly. The study was the first to look at a comprehensive set of school readiness skills and to try to determine which, of all of them, is the most solid predictor of a child’s later success. Language—the ability to fluidly learn words and to string them together into sentences—was the hands-down winner, said co-author Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, director of the Infant Language Laboratory at Temple University.” (more)

Mu­sic play­school en­hances chil­dren’s lin­guistic skills

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“According to the research conducted at the University of Helsinki, weekly music playschool significantly improved the development of children’s vocabulary skills. Several studies have suggested that intensive musical training enhances children’s linguistic skills. Such training, however, is not available to all children.” (more)

For Young Brains, a Storytelling Sweet Spot

Edutopia – Youki Terada

“As a parent, one of my favorite activities with my toddler is storytime. These days I have plenty of good options: I can tell my son a story, we can read a picture book together, or I can turn on the TV or break out the iPad and watch a cartoon with him. At least that’s what I thought. A new study suggests that only one these experiences hits the “Goldilocks Zone”—that sweet spot where my son’s brain is highly active, his imagination is fully engaged, and he can spare a few moments to think about the story.” (more)

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)

Why Teenagers Should Understand Their Own Brains (And Why Their Teachers Should Too!)

NPR – Elissa Nadworny

“A teenage brain is a fascinating, still-changing place. There’s a lot going on: Social awareness, risk-taking, peer pressure; all are heightened during this period. Until relatively recently, it was thought that the brain was only actively developing during childhood — but in the last two decades, researchers have confirmed that the brain continues to develop during adolescence — a period of time that can stretch from the middle-school years into early adulthood.” (more)