Reading Instruction: Evidence & Neuroscience


Reading Instruction: Evidence & Neuroscience

by Drew Perkins, Director of ThoughtStretchers Education

Recently, I convened a group of passionate educators and advocates to delve into the intricacies of early literacy and the implementation of evidence-based practices in teaching reading. This discussion was a ThoughtStretchers Education Community event

Embracing Scientific Methods:

Karen Gazith, an esteemed author (The Power of Effective Reading Instruction: How Neuroscience Informs Instruction Across All Grades and Disciplines) and educator, set the tone by emphasizing the crucial role of scientific methods in teaching children to read. Drawing on her experience, Gazith highlighted the challenges of translating research into classroom practice and underscored the need for structured literacy practices grounded in phonics and phonological awareness.

Neuroscience of Reading:

Gazith explained how functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has advanced the understanding of the reading process in the brain. Effective readers show activity in the parietal temporal region, crucial for decoding words and mapping sounds to letters. In contrast, struggling readers often process words as images, activating the wrong brain areas. Early identification and intervention using nonsense words can help assess and improve decoding skills.