Educational "workouts" for the brain can boost reading ability
A rigorous intervention program targeting students with dyslexia effectively rewired their brains to work almost the same as children who don't struggle with reading, Carnegie Mellon University researchers reported. The changes, which appeared immediately after the 100-hour intervention, remained for at least one year, brain scans of a sampling of the students showed.
The central finding was that prior to instruction, the poor readers had significantly less activation than good readers bilaterally in the parietal cortex. Immediately after instruction, poor readers made substantial gains in reading ability, and demonstrated significantly increased activation in the left angular gyrus and the left superior parietal lobule. Activation in these regions continued to increase among poor readers 1 year post-remediation, resulting in a normalization of the activation. These results are interpreted as reflecting changes in the processes involved in word-level and sentence-level assembly. Areas of overactivation were also found among poor readers in the medial frontal cortex, possibly indicating a more effortful and attentionally guided reading strategy.
Ann Meyler, Timothy A. Keller, Vladimir L. Cherkassky, John D.E. Gabrieli, Marcel Adam Just. (2008, August). Modifying the brain activation of poor readers during sentence comprehension with extended remedial instruction: A longitudinal study of neuroplasticity. Neuropsychologia, 46(10),2580-2592