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The Learning Success Blog

Phonics Instruction Activates Brain Area Best Wired for Reading

Posted by Peter Barnes on April 12, 2016 at 3:23 PM

Peter Barnes

Research from Stanford University, USA, has shown that phonics instruction activates the left hemisphere of the brain. This is where visual and language regions are located.

The researchers showed that an alternative reading instruction method, known as whole-word or whole-language activates the right side of the brain.

Prof Bruce McCandliss, a co-author of the research noted that left hemisphere activation is characteristic of skilled readers, and is lacking in individuals who struggle with reading.

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Topics: Latest Research, Reading, Educational Neuroscience

Principal's New 7 Way Reading Program: Fast ForWord & Reading Assistant

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 30, 2016 at 4:10 PM

Peter Barnes

I just read an inspiring article by Carole Meyer, a school Principal in Washington State, USA about how her school transformed its reading program. 

The problem at Salk Middle School in Spokane, Washington was that 328 of the 736 students were not proficient readers, based on the state’s reading assessment. This was almost half the students.

So in mid 2013 Meyer decided to find a way to get every student reading at or above grade level.

She succeeded.

The students in the new reading program:

  • Achieved more than a year of reading growth in only one semester
  • Lifted their pass rate so they were passing more than 90% of their classes
  • Shifted their mindsets toward becoming better readers
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Topics: Reading, Confidence & Resilience, Fast ForWord, Reading Assistant

How to Create Successful Readers: 5 Articles from Scientific Learning

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 29, 2016 at 12:19 PM

Peter Barnes

What do teachers need to do to make sure students become successful readers?

Scientific Learning Corporation, the developer of the Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant programs, has published five easy to read articles about the components of reading success.

In this blog, I have summarised the articles. You can read them in full by clicking on the links.

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Topics: Learning Difficulties, Comprehension, Brain Science, Dyslexia, Reading, Fast ForWord, Literacy

Improving Reading with Fast ForWord: USA School, Bridges Academy

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 21, 2016 at 3:10 PM

Peter Barnes

Veteran educator, Jacqueline Egli, Executive Director of Bridges Academy, a well known not for profit, private school in USA was interviewed recently on the Fox News channel.

She spoke about how Bridges Academy is using neuroscience-based technology to improve reading for students in the school.

“For many of my students in my early days as an educator it might take me three, four, five years to make 6 months of solid improvement, ”she said.

Now her students with reading or learning difficulties use the Fast ForWord program

Egli says Fast ForWord can improve a child’s reading level by multiple grades in 6 - 8 weeks of training, and MRI scans before & after training show an increase in brain activity in kids with dyslexia.

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Topics: Learning Difficulties, Reading, Fast ForWord, Learning Capacity Success Stories, For Principals

How Fast ForWord Improved Student Outcomes in Canada School District

Posted by Colin Klupiec on March 13, 2016 at 5:25 PM

Colin Klupiec

Mike McKay is a retired superintendent of the Surrey County schools district in British Columbia, Canada.

He was a public educator for 35 years. The area he supervised has over 160 languages spoken. 

You can imagine it would be difficult to measure the potential problems with language and reading development in such a large and diverse region. 

But back in 2008 he attended a conference hosted by Scientific Learning Corporation, where he saw the research behind the Fast ForWord programs. 

When he came back, he asked his board to trust him, and give him $300,000 to get started. It was bold pitch. Mike tells the story of how things have panned out in this Learning Capacity podcast episode:

 

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Topics: Reading, Confidence & Resilience, School, Fast ForWord, Learning, Literacy, Podcasts, For Principals

How Your Brain Learns to Read: Professor Stanislaus Dehaene

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 8, 2016 at 5:52 PM

Peter Barnes

Did you know that learning to read is one of the most complex things we ask our brain to do?

What goes on in our brain that makes it possible for us to translate the little squiggly marks that are letters on a page, into meaning?

One of the world's foremost experts on reading, Professor Stanislas Dehaene, a French neuroscientists and author of the book “Reading in the Brain” has some answers. He explains in this video:

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Topics: Reading

“Phenomenal” improvements for son after Fast ForWord, says Father

Posted by Colin Klupiec on February 28, 2016 at 12:20 PM

Colin Klupiec


Dr Con Kafataris, father of six, describes the changes he saw in his son George, aged nine, as phenomenal” after George completed the Fast ForWord program.

It was a little bit of a journey to find Fast ForWord for George but after trying a few avenues, including speech pathology, Dr Kafataris came across the program through a book titled, “The Brain That Changes Itself” by Dr Norman Doidge.

“The science seemed plausible”, said Dr Kafataris, so he decided to give it a go.

What were these “phenomenal” improvements? Listen to the podcast to find out.

Or read more below for the complete podcast transcript.

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Topics: Learning Difficulties, Comprehension, Reading, Autism, Fast ForWord, Learning, Learning Capacity Success Stories, Podcasts

Fast ForWord Helped George Overcome His Learning Difficulties

Posted by Peter Barnes on January 5, 2016 at 3:51 PM

Peter Barnes

“The results have been quite phenomenal. It's just been amazing to watch”

That's how Dr Con Kafataris described the changes he saw in his nine-year-old son George after the Fast ForWord program.

Dr Kafataris was speaking with The Learning Capacity Podcast about George’s language and learning difficulties, the improvements following George’s participation in the program, and why he decided that his six year old daughter, Eleni, should also do the neuroscience based exercises.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST

George’s parents had known since he was about three years old that his language was delayed.

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Topics: Learning Difficulties, Reading, Fast ForWord, Podcasts

How Technology Can Help Early Primary Students Improve Reading Skills

Posted by Peter Barnes on October 15, 2015 at 2:17 PM

Peter Barnes

What do we do about students who are having trouble learning to read when they are in early primary school? 

How do we help them improve reading skills?

There are a multitude of programs and approaches used in Australian and New Zealand schools, and schools around the world to try to solve this problem. One well known program is Reading Recovery but its effectiveness is doubtful according to various studies.

Other approaches have not been really helpful - we still have way too many students in primary and secondary schools whose deficient reading skills are limiting their capacity to learn, and to achieve in school and beyond.

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Topics: Brain Science, Reading, Learning Capacity, Learning

16 Terms to Help You Understand Your Child's Learning Difficulties

Posted by Peter Barnes on October 9, 2015 at 2:22 PM

Peter Barnes

If you have a child with language challenges, reading problems or learning difficulties, and you have sought help from their teacher, speech pathologist or other learning professional, you may have heard some unfamiliar terms.

Words like phonemic awareness, auditory processing, listening comprehension and working memory.

Here are 16 common terms used in discussions about learning difficulties. Once you understand these, you should be able to have more productive discussions with your child's teacher or therapists.

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Topics: Reading, Fast ForWord, Learning

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