Brian Sullivan



Intensive reading programs can improve the structure of a child's brain, according to a study in the journal Neuron.
The study, Altering Cortical Connectivity: Remediation-Induced Changes in the White Matter of Poor Readers, found that several different programs improved the integrity of nerve fibers within the brain.
This helps coordination between brain regions.
Reading uses different areas of the brain to perform different functions like vocabulary, syntax and meaning. The speed between these areas depends on nerve fibre integrity.
Neuroimaging have revealed regions of cerebral white matter with among poor readers.
Poor readers had significantly lower FA than good readers in a region of the left anterior centrum semiovale.
After 100 hr of intensive remedial instruction there was significantly increased FA in white matter in the same region. The FA increase correlated with a decrease in radial (but not axial) diffusivity suggesting that myelination had increased.
The study studies used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to scan the brains of children from 8 to 12 years old, including poor readers and those with typical reading skills.
Children with poor reading skills had white matter with decreased microstructural organization (lowerfractional anisotropy or FA) than typical children.
In the following school year, some of the poor readers were given 100 hours of intensive instruction that had them repeatedly practice reading words and sentences.
A second scan demonstrated that white brain integrity had improved as had the child’s reading.
There was a direct correlation between changed neural structure and improved reading ability ( or more precisely, phonological decoding ability).
The study demonstrates that white matter is as important as grey matter in learning.
Previous studies have demonstrated that white matter changes when people learn to juggle or play a musical instrument.




Better by far you forget and smile than you should remember and be sad - Christina Rosetti
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