* Changing the brain for good

Research continues to support the use of specialized instruction for rewiring the young dyslexic brain, changes which persist into adulthood.  A new study reported by the Dana Foundation found significant improvement in reading AND changes in the brains of 24 dyslexic children over an eight-week summer reading program.  The changes occurred not only in the brain’s language areas, but also areas which allow monitoring of sensation and movement.  The study used a Lindamood-Bell program, similar to one with which I also have positive experience.  The cool part is that changes occurred so quickly.

I have seen such rapid changes in reading performance with youngsters I’ve taught.  I’ve seen as much as three years reading growth in less than 10 months for some kiddos.  And in other cases, that growth occurred in three months!  I would identify developmental readiness, small group size, and administrative and regular classroom support for pull-out sessions as key factors to speedy improvement.

Kid portrait

* The Dana Foundation/ Cerebrum

I first heard about the Dana Foundation while taking a course on brain-friendly teaching strategies.  I signed up for their monthly newsletter (which still faithfully arrives) and years later, added emails from Cerebrum, their online site.  I am so glad I did!  Here’s a glimpse of the home page, from which you can access a multitude of resources.Dana 4

From that page, you can find out more about this private philanthropic site and its mission.  To summarize, the Dana Foundation, begun in 1950, is committed to improving an understanding of the brain through research, supporting research to speed the treatment of brain disorders, and reducing the stigma of brain disease.  From the home page, there are links to Dana Alliances, Blog, Grants, For Kids, and importantly, News.  Click on News to access Neuroeducation:

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From here, you will see links to articles and research related to brain-based teaching.  You can also search through archives for past publications.

The links for kids lead to a complex maze of sites.  If you find one you like, bookmark it; I found it difficult to follow the crumbs back to their sources.  Unfortunately, the sites that look most suitable for elementary students have broken links, which is too bad.  You can wander through a maze of sophisticated science topics for “kids,” but I suggest you check out the information first before your student wanders into a graphic dissection of a cow’s eye or a sheep’s brain.  Many of the links “for kids” are more appropriate for high school students.  For instance, there’s an entire section on chemistry in everyday life called Reactions with accompanying YouTube videos.  Do You Ever Wonder is an interesting site with answers to a variety of random questions, the kinds of things kids are most curious about when they’re bored with my teaching.

A section that seemed designed just for me is called Staying Sharp: Current Advances in Brain Research, with an emphasis upon the aging brain.  Oh yeah, that’s me.

If you’re curious about brain research in general, want to explore the world of neuroeducation, or want to explore science and research material available for students, the Dana Foundation site is a great resource.