Do you know what this means?:
"Brain wave oscillation bands appear to be a major mechanism co-ordinating billions of nerves across different brain regions to perform even basic cognitive tasks such as paying attention to someone who is talking and understanding what they are saying."
It's about brain science, language learning and reading, and it may help your children or students.
For most of us brain science is mysterious, a field of knowledge open only to neuroscientists. Much of what we read about how our brains work, how brains learn and what can go wrong with them is written by people who have no special knowledge of brain science. They are generally reporting summarised conclusions of scientific research.
That is not to say their reporting is unhelpful. A writer or journalist needs a special skill to accurately translate complex scientific information about brains into a form that is useful for parents, teachers and others who are not brain scientists.
Best of all is when the writer is a brain scientist herself, like Dr Martha Burns. She is an expert in the neuroscience of learning, is a speech language pathologist, an Associate Professor at Northwestern University's School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, author of over 100 journal articles and three books, and Director of Neuroscience Education at Scientific Learning Corporation.
Dr Burns has written a paper about how brainwave efficiency correlates with auditory processing problems in children and how Gamma wave frequencies can be improved to boost language skills. Her paper "What New Brain Wave Research Tells Us About Language-based Learning Difficulties" includes the sentence at the start of this post.
What does that mean? Dr Burns explains:
- Children with problems learning their native language, and with reading problems (including dyslexia) seem to have different brain waves in the language learning area of their brain.
- These brain waves are known as "gamma bands".
- "Gamma bands" are brain waves important for "parsing" words into sounds.
- "Parsing" is the process of figuring out all the sounds in a word as well as the sequence of these sounds. All children must learn to "parse" in order to learn their native language. Children with language-learning disabilities find parsing words into sounds difficult.
- This causes them to struggle with reading.
- Scientists at the Rutgers University (USA) Centre for Molecular and Behavioural Neuroscience found that the Fast ForWord brain training program changed the "gamma bands" in children with specific language impairment.
- This improved the children's language skills.
Read the complete paper by Dr Burns: