Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Fluent Reading

How about these correlations between fMRI brain activation and reading fluency? Poor (red) and fluent (green) readers were compared in the 3rd and 5th grades, and their performance correlated quite well with activation in the left middle temporal gyrus (well-known to be affected in dyslexia) and the right parietal lobe. The ages of students were well chosen because 4th grade tends to be around the time when big jumps in reading fluency can be seen; it's also when the brain is very active establishing connections to multisensory areas.

The parietotemporal activation is particularly important to note here, because of it is distinct from pure sound processing. It may be more noticeable, too when individuals are sentences instead of single words.

Reading fluency is often what well-compensated dyslexics or gifted dyslexics notice the most - they may master the code well enough to get by with reading for content, but the rate of reading may be slow - and they may have to re-read passages if they scan over sentences too fast.

Just's paper speculates that the importance of parietotemporal connections may be in their contributions to verbal working memory, but we wonder if it's more due to the motion perception of letters and words. In the bottom link below, see how patients who sustained an injury to their parietotemporal areas - lost the ability to read fluently, but still were able to recognize individual words. Interesting, huh?

fMRI in Fluent and Poor Readers pdf
Dyslexia and Remediation / Rhyming pdf
Motion-Selective Failure in Patients with Parietotemporal Lesions

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  1. rws1st12:15 AM

    You mention reading...

    The education blog sphere (at least a part of it) has been abuz of late with the work of Siegfried (Zig) Engelmann , the method of Direct Instruction in general, and a large educational experiment from the 1970's called Project Follow through.


    And a good blog to start from would be:


    Zig's methodology and perspective look very strong to me. Are you familiar with his work? If so I would be very interested in your opinions.

  2. Wow, thanks rws1st for giving us these links.

    We were just forwarded some other links, and good points appear to mixed in with the bad re: Engelman - so we will post after we've really had a chance to examine his ideas.