When the wrong pathways are bonded, Reading Fluently Is Hard

Here's where learning to read can go wrong

Auditory

When auditory processing is slow, a student won’t hear the sounds they’re reading accurately (or at all). The student then uses valuable space in working memory to work through the deficit resulting in slow, choppy reading which is mentally exhausting for the student.

It’s widely accepted that many reading difficulties, including dyslexia, are auditory based.

Visual

When students have poor visual tracking skills, they often skip words or parts of words when reading, and then guess at what it might be (“cat” might become “cab” or “car”). They might also skip lines of text entirely, losing their place and meaning.

Research released in 2007, found that our eyes focus on slightly different parts of a word when reading. Consequently, convergence (our eyes working together) is critically important for forming a mental image of what is read and then comprehending the text.

Processing

Slow processors of reading material have not developed highly interconnected neural networks in the left hemisphere of their brain. There is no broadband ‘highway’ directly into meaning. Slower processors take long circuitous pathways from abnormal areas on their right hemisphere, across the connecting brain bridge, over to the speech and language centres on the left. The information arrives too late and unsynchronized.

There are numerous
factors at play.

The ultimate goal of reading is to be able to read fluently with good comprehension. Good comprehension requires accurate and rapid reading rate, so that a child can hold a sentence together long enough to make sense out it. Poor readers are slow processors of reading material, so by the time they get to the middle, they have forgotten the beginning and by the time they reach the end they have forgotten the middle and the beginning. The sentence they start putting together keeps falling apart, causing them to keep going back and starting again. This is called ‘dropout’.

 

What is Working Memory?

We use our working memory to learn and master new skills, which has very limited capacity. Once we learn something, we can use it without having to use our working memory, that is, without having to think about it.

Our brain tries to use working memory efficiently, by limiting the time that any particular material can stay in it. It removes? the material when the sub-conscious brain decides the material is not longer novel. For poor readers, the reading material is moved out of working memory before they can master it. It disappears into their subconscious, into neural bins of ‘bits and pieces’.

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