Professor John Gabrieli of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has a paper in the current issue of Science discussing dyslexia. Here’s the abstract.
Gabrieli, J. D. E. (2009). Dyslexia: A new synergy between education and cognitive neuroscience. Science, 325, 280 – 283
Reading is essential in modern societies, but many children have dyslexia, a difficulty in learning to read. Dyslexia often arises from impaired phonological awareness, the auditory analysis of spoken language that relates the sounds of language to print. Behavioral remediation, especially at a young age, is effective for many, but not all, children. Neuroimaging in children with dyslexia has revealed reduced engagement of the left temporo-parietal cortex for phonological processing of print, altered white-matter connectivity, and functional plasticity associated with effective intervention. Behavioral and brain measures identify infants and young children at risk for dyslexia, and preventive intervention is often effective. A combination of evidence-based teaching practices and cognitive neuroscience measures could prevent dyslexia from occurring in the majority of children who would otherwise develop dyslexia.
Link to the article
Christie Walcott and colleagues reported that children whom preschool teachers rated as having attention problems had lower scores later on phonemic awareness, letter knowledge, and rapid naming. Here’s the abstract.
Objective: The link between significant attention problems and reading difficulties among school-age children is clear, but few have examined the impact of early inattention on preliteracy development. This longitudinal study examines this link. Method: A total of 47 children had repeated measures of teacher-rated attention problems and three key preliteracy skills (phonemic awareness, letter knowledge, and rapid naming) in both preschool and kindergarten. Results: Teacher-reported attention problems in preschool significantly and negatively predicted both phonemic awareness and letter naming scores 1 year later, even after controlling for initial language ability and preschool performance on these tasks. Levels of preschool inattention did not significantly predict rapid automatic naming 1 year later. Likewise, preschool preliteracy scores did not predict attention problems in kindergarten. Conclusion: Early attention problems may interfere with the acquisition of certain preliteracy skills. Implications of these findings and directions for future research are presented.
Walcott, C. M., Scheemaker, A., & Bielski, K. (2009). Research brief: A longitudinal investigation of inattention and preliteracy development. Journal of Attention Disorders, 13, [online first, so no page numbers yet]. doi:10.1177/1087054709333330
It’s sometimes hard to sort through the rhetoric about different methods used in teaching students with Learning Disabilities. However, two groups within the Council for Exceptional Children have made the task considerably easier. In a series of publications now numbering 16, the Division for Learning Disabilities and the Division for Research cut through the bologna to provide quick reviews about the effectiveness of current educational practices. These Current Practice Alerts, which are readily accessible for general readers, cover familiar topics including these:
- Class-wide Peer Tutoring
- Cooperative Learning
- Direct Instruction
- Fluency Instruction
- Formative Evaluation
- Functional Behavioral Assessment
- Graphic Organizers
- High-Stakes Assessment
- Mnemonic Instruction
- Phonics Instruction
- Phonological Awareness
- Reading Comprehension Instruction
- Reading Recovery
- Social Skills Instruction
They are succinct and faithful to the research evidence. They even make explicit recommendations about whether to use the practice. What’s the hitch? Well, they’re free, so see for yourselves.
Link to the Web page listing these resources.
In an article entitled “NZ ‘failing kids who struggle to learn,'” Lane Nichols of the Dominion Post reported about a critical evaluation of New Zealand schooling. It seems that NZ schools have been failing to address the problems of students with Learning Disabilities and some parents of those students have complained. Shades of Eli Tash in Milwaukee (WI, US) in the 1960s!
Continue reading ‘NZ gets started’