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Top Ten
Recent Brain
Findings in Reading
Dyslexic readers use different brain
pathways than do good readers.
 Two neural pathways:
– One for beginning reading, sounding
out slowly.
– The other for speedier more skilled
Findings in Older Students
Imaging studies reveal increased activation in
the frontal region.
 Demonstrating over activation in Broca’s
region (speech center).
 Students use systems in front of brain to
compensate for disruption in back of brain.
 One way the student compensates is to sub
vocalize as he reads. (Page 82) Overcoming
Dyslexia, Shaywitz, Sally, MD
Early Identification
Reading disabilities diagnosed after third
grade are much more difficult to
 Early ID is important because the brain is
more “plastic” in younger children and
potentially more malleable for re-routing
neural circuits.
Brain Repair
One year after an educational intervention….
 The auxiliary pathways on the right side were
reduced. (These pathways are associated with
slower sounding out skills).
 There was further development of the primary
system on the left-side (comparable to that of
good readers).
 These left-side posterior circuits are essential for
rapid automatic reading. Shaywitz & Shaywitz
Dr. Bennet Shaywitz, theorizes that since
the basic circuitry for linking letters to
sounds is disrupted in dyslexic readers,
they develop and come to rely on other
neural systems not only for reading but
for problem solving.
 They see things in a different way,
are more creative…they think
outside the box.
If one child in a family is dyslexic almost
half of his brothers/sisters are also likely
to be dyslexic.
 The gene research on this area has
shown no single dominant gene,
probably several involved.
No significant difference was found in
the prevalence of reading disability in the
boys and girls we identified. Shaywitz, S.
(Page 32)
The deficit responsible for the disorder
resides in the language system … it
resides in only a small part of the
language system, the Phonological
module. (Page 41)
Children with dyslexia are not usually
prone to seeing letters or words
#2 Reading is not in the genes.
Speaking is natural, reading is not.
 Reading is not built into the genes, it is
Reading has only been in existence for
5,000 years, speaking has existed for far
#1 Sounds vs. Whole word
 Everyone
reads sound-by-sound.
Early Warning Signs
Delay in speaking
Insensitivity to rhyme
Talks around a word
Word retrieval
Understands meaning
of words
 Difficulty with
segmenting, blending,
and rapid naming
 Difficulty knowing
letter names, sounds
Later Signs
Dyslexic readers:
Require many more exposures to a printed word
over a much longer period of time.
 Has difficulty with the little words; in, on, the.
 Reading nonsense words is the best measure
of phonologic decoding skill deficit.
 Often do better on tests of reading
comprehension than on decoding isolated single
Key Elements of Effective Early
Systematic and direct instruction in
– Phonemic awareness
– Explicit Phonics
 Practice in applying skills to
 Fluency training
 Enriched language experiences
Teaching SLD Students
to Read
…use state-of-the-art evidence based
instructional strategies and commercial
reading programs.
 For more information see numerous
reading programs reviewed in chapters 15
– 19 of Overcoming Dyslexia (as
reviewed by the National Reading Panel).
Oral Reading
Once a student is fairly fluent and has received
adult feedback, use Guided Repeated Oral
To build up the numerous repetitions needed,
Peer practice
 Tape-recorder
 Repeated reading
 Paired reading
Assisted reading
Echo reading
In the Future…
we may be able to more precisely target
our interventions.
 we may be able to pinpoint interventions
that are scientifically sound.
 we may be able to diagnose earlier and
apply interventions that reduce reading
problems in the intermediate years.