PEN Lecture Series
Academic Year 2012-13
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The Brain Might Read That Way
In this talk, I will construct a framework for understanding the development of reading ability in children based on research on reading acquisition and disability. This framework postulates that the growth of reading skill results from enhanced coordination and interactivity of brain regions involved in the visual (spelling), auditory (sound), and semantic (meaning) constituents of word processing. I will present data from a cross-sectional study of spelling-sound sensitivity in typically-achieving and impaired readers ages 8-15 using functional MRI. I will also present fMRI data suggesting that instruction of spelling-sound relationships enhances learning outcomes and subsequent activity in the reading network compared to holistic word form instruction. Lastly, I will argue that executive processing may underlie some of the basic deficits in reading failure and provide evidence that these general cognitive abilities may be enhanced through training. These findings have theoretical and practical implications for understanding reading ability, disability, and instruction in the developing brain.
Teachers’ Perceptions of the Use of ASL Phonological Instruction to Develop ASL and English Literacy in an ASL/English Bilingual Preschool
This study seeks to understand how teachers who work in an ASL/English bilingual educational program for preschool children conceptualize and utilize phonological instruction of American Sign Language (ASL). While instruction that promotes phonological awareness of spoken English is thought to provide educational benefits to young children in terms of language proficiency and reading development, there is limited understanding of how deaf children may similarly benefit from the phonological instruction of ASL. Part of the resistance in promoting ASL may be related to how signs native to ASL do not directly map onto written English in the same way that spoken English does. However, ASL does incorporate the use of the manual alphabet, which is a manual representation of the English alphabet, and many signs in ASL do have partial or full overlap to words in the orthography of English. ASL also has the added benefit of being considered the natural language for deaf people, which allows teachers with the means to promote ASL phonological instruction in ways that allow students to access and utilize a language in ways that can maximize their ability to process information.
Child First: Bringing Upon Quality Education of the Deaf for Today and Tomorrow
The lack of convergence between word and action; research and practice; and perception and reality has long plagued the deaf child’s prospects for a quality, humane education and whole person development. Although the original intent of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) is timeless, things have evolved over time to today’s increasingly “one size fits all” approach which has been detrimental for the low incidence population of deaf children. Via the Child First campaign, CEASD and NAD are calling for a return to the original principle of the federal law. Dr. Stern will discuss socio-political, bio-ecological and educational themes to bring upon critical reform on behalf of today and tomorrow’s deaf children.
Using Multi-Level Models to Investigate Language Processing
In psycholinguistics, investigators have traditionally used quasi-experimental and extreme-groups methods to investigate individual differences in language processing. These methods have limitations that make it difficult to draw strong and accurate conclusions. Multivariate analysis, including multi-level modeling, provides a set of tools that are more appropriate for this kind of investigation. This talk will present an overview of multi-level modeling techniques and concrete examples of how such techniques have been applied in psycholinguistic investigation.
How Early Intervention Can Make a Difference: Research and Trends
Early Intervention has come a long way. Research has documented its efficacy. This presentation will focus on what we have learned and where we need to go.
Bridging Cognitive Neuroscience and Education: Insights from Development of Reading, Math, and Selective Attention
This talk will examine how approaching educational domains such as early reading and symbolic arithmetic development from the vantage point of brining together neural systems associated with more elementary forms of cognition, such as visual symbol recognition, access to phonological forms, and comparisons of approximate magnitudes may help inform issues of learning disability, individual differences, and the potential role of pedagogy in skill acquisition.