Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It's All About Plasticity!

The Reading Ready Brain (2009) mainly focused on how to help struggling readers. The correlation was made between poor reader’s drop-out rate and behavior problems. Which is not really any new information but the article focused on a technology program called Fast ForWord, a reading intervention software package from Scientific Learning, that allowed students of any age to build cognitive skills.

Again this article focused on the brain’s plasticity. The brain has the capability to learn at any age, so that if students miss out in elementary school there is still time to learn at the secondary level because they brain continues to learn throughout our entire lives.

This software is based on 30 years of neuroscience research and focused on building the following cognitive skills: memory, attention, processing rate and sequencing. These skills not only help when reading but learning as well. This software developed “computer-based brain fitness exercises” (52) which not only improved their reading but their motivation, attitude and behavior changed as they had success in reading.

Reflection: The two cognitive skills that I was interested in were attention and processing rate. These are two areas that have been identified in many articles so far. This software helped students to focus on information and tasks and ignore distractions (51) to gain better attention. It also addressed processing rate, “the rate at which a student is able to accurately perceive and manipulate information” (51) which is also critical in digital reading. It looks like they have had a lot of success with this program because it does focus on the basic cognitive skills. We know that in order to learn and remember that we need to build on prior knowledge. If students do not have that prior knowledge or skills we are only building frustration when it comes to reading. Again, it all about plasticity!


Kolonay, D. & Kelly-Garris, K. (2009) The reading ready brain. Principal Leadership 48-53.

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