The Reading Brain

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The Reading Brain. Jenny Thomson HT100 1 st November, 2010. Todays session. Recap on what we know about reading The E-M-B perspective!. What is reading?. Reading is. A complex activity. Ace. Reading is. A complex activity Not natural. Reading is. A complex activity Not natural - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • The Reading BrainJenny ThomsonHT1001st November, 2010

  • Todays session

    Recap on what we know about readingThe E-M-B perspective!

  • What is reading?

  • Reading isA complex activity

  • Ace

  • Reading isA complex activityNot natural

  • Reading isA complex activityNot naturalA different set of demands across languagesmoikka

  • And teachers have to teach this?!

    Which skills need to be taught?When do you teach them?Might different children need more focus on different parts of the process?

  • Psychology to the rescue?

    Phonological sensitivity is important to early readingSkilled reading involves a process that is less reliant on phonology exclusively, but also involves direct visual recognitionSimple view of reading Reading comprehension = Word Recognition + Listening Comprehension

  • So

    We psychology!


  • It hasnt told us everything

    While psychology-informed best practice works for many, many students and 70% of struggling readers, 30% remain as treatment resistors

    Even a minimal neuroscience background suggests that the brain is not composed of boxes and arrows

  • What are the options?

    Psychology can step up its gameWe could see if neuroscience can add some insightsPsychology and neuroscience could join forces to answer educational questionsNone of the above

  • Psychology stepping it up

    Accept and learn to love equifinalityUse its existing tools to understand phonology and reading subskills more

  • What about neuroscience?

    And lets remind ourselves of the critical questionWhile psychology-informed best practice works for many, many students and 70% of struggling readers, 30% remain as treatment resistors

  • What about neuroscience?

    Post-mortem studiesFunctional studies e.g. fMRI and EEG/ERPStructural studies e.g. DTI

  • This is neat hypothesis

    What are the implications for identification and intervention for individuals with dyslexia?

  • What about neuroscience?Post-mortem studiesFunctional studies e.g. fMRI and EEG/ERP

  • This is also very neatDoes this add further educational implications?Do you see any limitations?

  • VWFAWhat has functional fMRI told us about the visual word form area (VWFA)?

  • Enter ERP

    Electrical potentials generated during neurotransmissionRecorded from electrodes on surface of scalpTime-locked signal averaging extracts very small event-related potentials from the EEGResulting averaged waveform is series of positive and negative deflections, called peaks, waves or components.The sequence of components following the stimulus reflects the sequence of neural processes triggered by the stimulus

  • Luck, Woodman & Vogel, 2000

  • Back to the VWFAERP studies in adults have shown that within 200 ms of viewing a visual word, electrical activity recorded over left posterior inferior regions of skilled readers responds differently to visual words versus control stimuli (i.e., strings of novel letter-like characters).

    N170 represents fast perceptual specialization

  • Study design

  • Results

    Non-linear, experience-dependent plasticity

  • Tying things togetherIf our question is why do 30% of struggling readers not respond to instructional best-practice

    Neuroscience and converging methodologies have burgeoning potential to help us understand developmental pathways, individual differences and response to intervention

    But were not there yet!

    ******We have educational questionsWe have neuroscience compatibility issuesIt also doesnt account for all the variance *Legacy of medical model etc.Has had to change tack, partly because of genetics and partly failure of one-shot modelBROADERBut then DEEPER too**


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