To Read and Comprehend

One reads in order to comprehend. That being said, to comprehend, decoding must be mastered. Why is it then that some can comprehend but have a hard time with decoding when it is decoding that is important for comprehension?

A recent study looked at the neural substrates that underlie reading discrepancy, defined as the difference between reading comprehension and decoding skills.

Neuroimaging studies indicated that reading comprehension and decoding activated overlapping regions. Yet, there are exceptions. When it comes to discrepant readers, there are those who have low decoding, but relatively good comprehension skills (resilient dyslexia), and those who have low comprehension skills but relative good decoding known as specific reading comprehension disorder.

What was found is that there is a larger volume of gray matter in resilient readers in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) of the left hemisphere. It is known as the “conductor” of the brain. The researchers found that the density of neurons in the DLPFC predated mature reading ability and predicted discrepancy, regardless of their initial reading abilities.

This helps in understanding the brain mechanisms that children utilize to do well despite their relative weakness in decoding.

If much of what is done in kindergarten in terms of reading readiness id focused on learning sounds of letters, for instance, Dr. Patael stipulates that, based on recent research, an emphasis on developing executive functions and working memory is warranted.

So then, the question is: how do we activate these areas? Activities such as baking cakes, playing a song and strategy games should help. As well, making sure all of the afferences to the DLPFC are optimal could be interesting, in my opinion. In that regard, combining Posturology with Functional Neurology seems to be an intelligent fit!


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