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How the brain changes when we learn to read

Medical X-Press – Nicola Bell

“Right now, you are reading these words without much thought or conscious effort. In lightning-fast bursts, your eyes are darting from left to right across your screen, somehow making meaning from what would otherwise be a series of black squiggles. Reading for you is not just easy – it’s automatic. Looking at a word and not reading it is almost impossible, because the cogs of written language processing are set in motion as soon as skilled readers see print. And yet, as tempting as it is to think of reading as hard-wired into us, don’t be fooled. Learning to read is not easy. It’s not even natural.”(more)

Spoken languages affect reading strategies and cognitive foundations of literacy

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“The way bilingual people read is conditioned by the languages they speak. This is the main conclusion reached by researchers at the Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL) after reviewing the existing scientific literature and comparing this information to the findings of studies at their own centre. The scientists found that the languages spoken by bilingual people (when they learned to read in two languages at the same time) affect their reading strategies and even the cognitive foundations that form the basis for the capacity to read. This discovery could have implications for clinical and education practice.”(more)

How ‘One Story’ Can Excite Students About Reading And Connecting With Community

KQED News Mind/Shift – Leah Shaffer

“Several years ago, Waltham High School educators were trying to think of some way to enliven summer reading. They had tried book lists and they had tried letting students just read what they wanted but they were missing a deeper level of student engagement. “We felt like we needed something different that was more meaningful,” said English teacher Emilie Perna. They wanted a reading program that would be fun, multidisciplinary and included the community so that students would learn that reading is a life-long adventure. The educators developed a “One School, One Story” program that gives students more voice in which book gets selected during the summer and continues the dialogue with authors and members of the community throughout the year.”(more)

Figures show drop in Scottish pupil literacy rates

BBC – Staff Writer

“The Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy found that less than half of Scotland’s 13 and 14-year-olds are now performing well in writing. P4 and P7 pupils also saw a drop in writing performance. The reading ability of P4, P7 and S2 pupils remains broadly similar to 2014 – but lower than 2012. And there has been no reduction in the big gap between the performance of the country’s wealthiest and most deprived pupils.”(more)

Literacy is fundamental to a free society

The Hill – Bradley Blakeman

“A free society wants its citizenry to be literate and contributing. An authoritarian government needs just the opposite to survive. Literacy is the key that opens many doors and in America we cannot rest until every man, woman and child who are able can read and write. According to a study conducted in late April of 2014 by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults in the U.S. can’t read. That’s 14 percent of the population. Twenty-one percent of adults in the U.S. read below a 5th grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates can’t read.”(more)

Reading with children starting in infancy gives lasting literacy boost

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“New research at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting shows that reading books with a child beginning in early infancy can boost vocabulary and reading skills four years later, before the start of elementary school. The abstract, “Early Reading Matters: Long-term Impacts of Shared Bookreading with Infants and Toddlers on Language and Literacy Outcomes,” will be presented on Monday, May 8, at the Moscone West Convention Center in San Francisco.”(more)