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The Learning Success Blog

Students with Better Social Skills Achieve Higher Test Scores

Posted by Peter Barnes on January 31, 2018 at 5:45 PM

Peter Barnes

Children who are co-operative, socially responsible and helpful in kindergarten achieve higher scores on reading, writing and numeracy tests in primary school, compared with children with less pro-social behaviour.

This is the finding from a 5-year study of more than 52,000 kindergarten students from nearly 2800 schools.  The study was led by Dr Rebecca Collie at the University of New South Wales School of Education. 

Test scores from the children’s NAPLAN (Australia’s National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy) in 2012 and 2014 were compared for four different social and emotional behavioural profiles observed when they were in kindergarten:

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Topics: Writing, Social Skills, Literacy, Maths, NAPLAN, Social & Emotional Learning

25% improvement in writing skills in 11 weeks using Fast ForWord123

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 17, 2017 at 11:45 AM

Peter Barnes

25 university students who had Fast ForWord123 training for 11 weeks boosted their writing skills 25%.

This compares with a control group of 28 students at the same university who did not receive the training, and who showed no improvement over the same 11 week period.

Because no explicit practice with writing is included in the training program, the results of this study demonstrate that training in basic cognitive, listening, and reading skills generalise to improved writing ability.

The writing skills of the Fast ForWord 123 group were measured before and after training. The measurement tool was the OWLS Written Expression Scale. This is an internationally recognised standardised assessment which showed the 25 students improved their writing skills from below the control group students to above them after the training.

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Topics: Writing, Fast ForWord

Six Ways You Can Improve Your Writing with Neuroscience Insights

Posted by Peter Barnes on September 30, 2015 at 11:28 AM

Peter Barnes

Never start a sentence with 'and'.    


Imagine if you could easily improve your writing, or your students' writing, by ignoring some old rules such as the one above. And by using some writing principles from neuroscience.

A new book, The Reader’s Brain: How Neuroscience Can Make You a Better Writer  contains 6 science - based guidelines you can use. It also includes some old rules that don't help at all.

The author is a university professor who wanted to give her students a way to improve their writing with insights from neuroscience data, such as eye-tracking, EEG brain scans, and fMRI neuroimaging.

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Topics: Writing

What is Dysgraphia and What Can You Do About It

Posted by Peter Barnes on June 23, 2015 at 5:18 PM

Peter Barnes

I'm indebted to parenting author Kate Kelly for this succinct explanation of dysgraphia.

What is it?

An issue that involves difficulty with the physical act of writing. Kids who struggle to master handwriting are described as having dysgraphia.

What are the signs my child may have it?

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Topics: Writing, Podcasts

Handwriting May Boost Learning by Activating Working Memory & Reading

Posted by Peter Barnes on February 2, 2015 at 12:40 PM

Peter Barnes

Children today are doing much less handwriting than children did 20, 30 or 40 years ago. Before computers became commonplace, handwriting was much more important for everyone. Back then schools put considerable time and attention on making sure students developed their handwriting. 

I recall entering cursive handwriting competitions when I was a young child (I went to primary school in the 1950s), and the sense of pride for the kids who were judged the neatest writers.

Now, typing on computers and tablets is replacing the act of writing by hand for many students (and adults).



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Topics: Writing, Brain Science, Memory, Reading, School, Learning Capacity, Podcasts

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