Launching Young Readers: Reading and the Brain

Launching Young Readers: Reading and the Brain

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What happens when neuroscience meets Dr. Seuss? Exciting new technologies are allowing us to learn on a child's first day of life whether or not he'll have a hard time learning to read down the line.

Reading and the Brain explores how brain scientists are working to help struggling readers. In Houston, Chicago, Louisville, D.C., and Toronto, we'll visit with these scientists and learn how they're using new technology to impact the lives of young readers. The program is divided into the following segments:

Rewiring the brain: At the University of Texas–Houston, Dr. Papanicolau is using technology to show eight–year–old Peter Oathout his difficulties with reading are rooted in his brain.

Biomapping the brain: In Evanston, Illinois, Dr. Nina Kraus thinks that Jenna’s reading problems may be related to the way her brain processes sound. To find out, Dr. Kraus is using some well–known technology in a new way.

Baby's first reading skills: Drs. Victoria and Dennis Molfese are starting even younger. In Louisville, Kentucky they are studying speech perception in day old babies like Santana Hamond — something that may be a key factor in determining a child’s later reading skills.

The poet and the painter: In Harlem, writer Nikki Giovanni and illustrator Bryan Collier discuss their award–winning book, Rosa, and what it took to write about the influential Rosa Parks.

From emotion to comprehension: Further north in Toronto, six–year–old Arik is reading through his books with lightning speed — but is he understanding it all? Using a technique developed for autistic children like Arik, Drs. Greenspan and Shanker believe that they can help Arik's comprehension by expanding his emotional connection to the words.

Henry Winkler — celebrated actor, author, producer, and director — hosts Reading and the Brain and brings with him his own experiences with dyslexia.

Reading and the Brain is the eighth episode of Reading Rockets: Launching Young Readers, WETA's award-winning series of innovative half-hour programs about how children learn to read, why so many struggle, and what we can do to help. Available in DVD format.

Running time: 26 minutes

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