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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)

For some children, reading feels like a cryptic code. We can help them crack it

The Guardian – Lulu Kuper

“Reading disorders are among the most prevalent learning difficulties children have. In a mixed ability classroom, an estimated one in 10 children will have dyslexia and up to 20% need training to develop the ability to isolate sounds in words. In 2016, an OECD report found English teenagers are the most illiterate in the developed world, with many between the ages of 16 and 19 only having a “basic” grasp of maths and English.” (more)

Finding the Source of Reading Difficulties

Edutopia – Ana Wright

“It’s a common refrain heard in upper elementary and middle school teachers’ lounges: “These kids can’t read!” But what do we really mean when we say a child can’t read? Too often, we don’t know what we mean—we just know that the child’s needs seem too overwhelming for us to address. As a result, intervention in these cases often looks like more test prep passages, more graphic organizers, more annotation strategies. All of this doesn’t treat the underlying causes of the child’s reading difficulties—instead, it frustrates the child and the teacher further.” (more)

Rethinking How Students With Dyslexia Are Taught To Read

NPR – Emily Hanford

“Dyslexia is the most common learning disability, affecting tens of millions of people in the United States. But getting help for children who have it in public school can be a nightmare. “They wouldn’t acknowledge that he had a problem,” says Christine Beattie about her son Neil. “They wouldn’t say the word ‘dyslexia.’ ” Other parents, she says, in the Upper Arlington, Ohio, schools were having the same problem. The district in a suburb of Columbus wasn’t identifying their children’s dyslexia or giving them appropriate help.” (more)

Dolly Parton Gives The Gift Of Literacy: A Library Of 100 Million Books

NPR – Maureen Pao

“The Library of Congress hosted a very special guest at story time this week: Dolly Parton. The country music legend is also a champion of early childhood literacy, through her Imagination Library. Every month, the nonprofit program mails a free book to more than a million children — from infants to preschoolers. Parton visited the Library of Congress on Tuesday to celebrate a major milestone in the Imagination Library’s history: delivery of its 100 millionth book. Not bad for a program Parton founded more than two decades ago as a small, local effort to help kids in her native Sevier County, Tennessee.” (more)

A Powerful Approach to Reading Instruction

Edutopia – Jessica Hamman

“Structured Literacy is a term coined in 2016 by the International Dyslexia Association to unify the many names for this research-based approach. Also known as Orton-Gillingham, phonics-based reading instruction, systematic reading instruction, and synthetic phonics (among others), this method has been around for nearly a century. In the late 1920s, physician Samuel T. Orton partnered with Teacher’s College educator Anna Gillingham to create a method of reading instruction that would better support the needs of his patients with reading difficulties. He believed that these difficulties were brain-based and not supported by the popular rote memorization method used to teach reading at the time.” (more)