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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pathways in the Brain - Information Processing?

We have known for sometime that reading is a strategic process of problem solving.  Marie Clay and Frank and Yetta Goodman were among the first to receive public attention for their work in this field.  Later on, the idea was refined when the use of technology impacted the theory and people started to refer to the process as information processing - the brain using the sources of information (meaning, structure, and syntax) presented through text in order to "read" the material in front of the eyes.  Some of the core terminology we used indicates our concept of the process: predicting or anticipating, confirming, rereading to gather further information in order to make sense, etc.  Wilhelm received attention for his work on units of inquiry when he made the connection between reading strategies and thinking strategies we use everyday,  - This is a gross over simplification and I apologize.

For an example of this type of problem solving, go to the following site and think about how you are processing the text in front of you.

From this perspective, I don't believe the following articles hold any surprises. As I read them, they confirmed much of what we have believed for years, but gave educators a physiological basis for our observations.  The new standards for the 21st century confirm and expand on this knowledge.  Hopefully, we will be able to help our students develop the thinking strategies necessary for survival in a ever shrinking, information prolific age.

Taken from  ASCD Smart Brief.

Research shows brain connections improve with reading practice
Students who practice reading can strengthen their brains -- especially the white-matter connections essential to learning, according to research by scientists at the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Researchers scanned students' brains, then enrolled struggling readers in an intensive reading program. Researchers again scanned students' brains, this time after 100 hours of reading practice, and found the training improved "not just their reading ability, but the tissues in their brain." National Public Radio (12/9) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette(12/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story 

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