Friday, December 11, 2009

Another thing phonics can do...

I'm an unabashed fan of phonics instruction to teach reading. Not very odd, considering we have a phonetic system of writing, but still viewed as reactionary and less effective in some circles. I'm not sure what drug exactly people in those circles used to fry their brains while their parents were paying for tuition (I'm including alcohol as a drug here--I live near a college, and I'm no stranger to what goes on substance-wise), for synthetic phonics appears to be the most logical and successful way of teaching English reading, despite all of English's lovely archaic spellings and foreign words.

While perusing science news this morning at one of those odd hours I owe to my six-week-old, I came across an article stating that reading remediation positively alters brains:
As the researchers report today in the journal Neuron, brain imaging of children between the ages of 8 and 10 showed that the quality of white matter -- the brain tissue that carries signals between areas of grey matter, where information is processed -- improved substantially after the children received 100 hours of remedial training. After the training, imaging indicated that the capability of the white matter to transmit signals efficiently had increased, and testing showed the children could read better.
Keller and Just also found that the amount of change in diffusion among the treated group was directly related to the amount of increase in phonological decoding ability. The children who showed the most white matter change also showed the most improvement in reading ability, confirming the link between the brain tissue alteration and reading progress.

Did you catch that? The kids got better at phonological decoding, and their brain tissue improved in quality. So, not only will phonics help a child read, but it makes his or her brain better! That's cool. :)

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    I think you'd find the content of this website of interest -it's got comprehensive descriptions of the main reading methods -whole language, balanced literacy and modern synthetic phonics-