Stanford brain wave study shows impact of phonics
Posted: Fri May 29, 2015 9:42 am
http://news.stanford.edu/news/2015/may/ ... 52815.html
Stanford study on brain waves shows how different teaching methods affect reading development
Stanford Professor Bruce McCandliss found that beginning readers who focus on letter-sound relationships, or phonics, increase activity in the area of their brains best wired for reading.
Beginning readers who focus on letter-sound relationships, or phonics, instead of trying to learn whole words, increase activity in the area of their brains best wired for reading, according to new Stanford research investigating how the brain responds to different types of reading instruction.
In other words, to develop reading skills, teaching students to sound out "C-A-T" sparks more optimal brain circuitry than instructing them to memorize the word "cat." And, the study found, these teaching-induced differences show up even on future encounters with the word.
The study, co-authored by Stanford Professor Bruce McCandliss of the Graduate School of Education and the Stanford Neuroscience Institute, provides some of the first evidence that a specific teaching strategy for reading has direct neural impact. The research could eventually lead to better-designed interventions to help struggling readers.
"This research is exciting because it takes cognitive neuroscience and connects it to questions that have deep meaning and history in educational research," said McCandliss, who wrote the study with Yuliya Yoncheva, a researcher at New York University, and Jessica Wise, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin.