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The Brain, Language, and Reading

(Just so you know…. This information is based on two sources: David Sousa’s book How the Brain Learns and Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley’s article “The Early Catastrophe”. If you are interested in learning more information, the link to Sousa’s book and Hart and Risley’s article is below!)


Language acquisition is something that we all don’t necessarily pay attention to, but the types of conversations that are had with children by adults mold what type of literary beings they become. How often you speak to them, how you speak to them, and what types of conversations you have with them can put them at an advantage or a disadvantage as students and, eventually, adults. In this week’s Coach’s Corner blog, I’m going to give a few facts about the brain, language, and children.

1. Spoken language directly influences how easily a child learns to read.

2. Babies initially respond to their mother’s rhythm, cadence, and pitch—not words.

3. Around the age of 12 months, children begin to attach meaning to words.

4. Babies begin to distinguish word boundaries as early as 8 months. For example,

understanding the different between green house and greenhouse.

5. Television does not support language development.

6. The earlier a child learns a second language the better.

7. If you know a word, it makes it easier for you to read it when you see it.

8. The more words young children hear (ages 1-3) the more successful they will be in school.

Interested in a few tips to help your readers??? Check out the list below.

  • Directly address topics that students don’t know.

  • Teach vocabulary—be sure to teach students new words so they will recognize them when they see them in texts!

  • Talk to your students—share your extensive vocabulary with them!

  • Using graphic organizers to help students organize ideas as they are reading.

  • Use audiovisual aids to support student understanding.

If you would like to know more information about this week’s topic, you can check out David Sousa’s book How the Brain Learns or read Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley’s article “The Early Catastrophe”.

If you would like to watch the video on this week's blog, CLICK HERE.

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