As more educators come to understand learning and the brain, teaching practices and strategies improve, benefiting all learners. The following is a brief summary of information from the work of Dr. Sally Shaywitz and Dr. J. Richard Gentry relative to brain systems for reading. Broca’s area (area A in Gentry’s diagram of the brain) is the Phoneme Processing Area. This is where subvocalization occurs . . a process that is slow and analytical and most likely to be used in the beginning stages of learning to read, according to Shaywitz and Gentry. This area might be activated when a K teacher has children shouting out the rhyming word in a nursery rhyme as they repeat a part in unison. Broca’s area is also the “speech” area, dealing with articulation . . . how sounds are formed in the mouth. The second area of importance is the Word Analysis Area in the parieto-temporal area of the brain (area B). This is where words are pulled apart and put back together, in essence, linking sounds to letters. It is my belief that the use of Visual Phonics hand shapes helps to activate this area. This is also slow and analytical . . [...]
Posts Tagged ‘ chunk ’
It has been said that the potential for learning takes place when three conditions exist: things are noticed; specific attention is given; and sustained focus/attention occurs. (Source unknown) Visual Phonics hand shape cues and/or written symbols can be used to make individual letters and “chunks” stand out so that they are more noticeable. Once the letters or chunks of print are more noticeable, specific attention can be given to the letter-sound connections in order to reduce or eliminate confusion about the sound(s) the letters represent. The visual-kinesthetic features of the Visual Phonics hand shape cues provide strong learning channel inputs that help to “map” sound to print and facilitate focus & attention on specific letters or chunks. With sustained focus on & attention to the correct sounds that the letter(s) represent, the potential for learning and retention of that learning is enhanced. A higher frequency of “correct trial learning” also leads to more stable skill retention and retrieval.
Our Brain – a Pattern Synthesizer Brains love patterns and repetition, and are hard-wired to copy. Our brains actively search for patterns to categorize, organize, synthesize information, code them into memory, and then retrieve them. Language is full of patterns, including rhymes, syllables, words, sentences, songs, and poems. Language also has patterns of sound, known as alliteration. Phonics is the patterns of print. As there are many phonics “rules”, it isn’t necessary to memorize the rules but to recognize the patterns and apply them. . Richard Gentry (Breaking the Code, 2006) states that “the brain of a literate person has an enormous capacity to sort through the thousands of letter combinations on a page of print and find the regular patterns within it by chunking. . . . The reader/writer/speller must learn to chunk strings of letters into discernable patterns . . . Without recognition of the patterns, skilled and automatic reading cannot happen.” . In a 2008 article in Educational Leadership – “Why Phonics Instruction Must Change”, Jeannine Herron states that “early instruction determines how the brain organizes itself for reading . . . and “for most children, the first experiences with letters and words dictate how the brain [...]