by Rhonda Stone, MPA
Tutor & Communications
Read Right Systems
“Brain science?! Who needs to understand brain science?!” some may ask.
In a word: Everyone!
From parents to teachers to reading experts, if we all understood more about how the human brain works, fewer children, teens and adults would struggle with the essential skill of reading.
Here are a few common misunderstandings about the mysterious and miraculous human brain:
- “Each person has a dominant learning style.” Not true! This refers to auditory, visual, and hands-on learning. Thirty years ago, a study of people with brain injuries proposed this–and an education scientist somewhere, somehow twisted it around to apply to everyone, including people with uninjured brains! Read more about this harmful myth at: https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2019/05/learning-styles-myth.
- “If you are analytical, you are left-brained. If you are creative, you are right brained.” Again, not true! The brain IS divided into two hemispheres (left and right), and joined in the center by the corpus callosum. However, we are all “whole-brained.” Meaning, brain function occurs and requires activity throughout the brain. Learn more from Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical School: https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/blog/right-vs-left-myth.
The following myth may be the most damaging to the development of reading excellence:
- “Intensive, systematic instruction in phonics and decoding is required to become a successful reader.” Absolutely NOT true!! Evidence: Every year, a small percentage of children ages 4 to 6 figure out how to read on their own, before starting school! These children are called “precocious readers.” In fact, brain science suggests decoding and individual word recognition may cause reading problems. Here are three reasons from brain science: a) Human working memory (also called “short-term memory”) can only hold 3 to 7 bits of information at a time before it wipes working memory clean, and starts over. Thus, limitations on working memory prevent the brain from reading successfully through either decoding or individual word recognition. b) On top of this, focusing on individual syllables and words restricts all neural activity to the language centers of the brain, preventing the brain’s control system (executive function) from seeking, locating, and integrating other information stored as memory throughout the brain. Access to all information relevant to what is being read is vital to the only skill that makes reading useful: comprehension. Finally: c) R–ea–d–ing l–i–k–e th–i–s w–ou–l–d dr–i–ve y–ou cr–a–z–y! It forces the brain to work too much! Every function we perform involves anticipation, which is the brain’s amazing ability to use minimal information to achieve automaticity.
Lack of understanding of how the human brain functions is the #1 reason reading problems appear to be so difficult to fix. Read Right has found an answer: When the right strategies are used, fixing reading problems is not difficult. We know this with certainty because we do it every day. The key is a broader understanding and application of accurate brain science.
Read Right methodology is grounded in an inclusive view of brain science–or, all brain science. We remediate reading problems quickly because we understand and have applied brain science in new and exciting ways.