FiveSelecting and Tailoring Interventions for Students with Reading Difficulties

Steven G. Feifer

For many cognitive neuroscientists, literacy is often viewed as a novel and a rather essential leap in the evolution of human cognitive processing. After all, the ability to capture, transcribe, and decipher human intellectual thought through an alphabetic code encompasses just a scant 6,000-year history. Yet in many ways, literacy has spearheaded the cognitive advancement of our species in an exponential fashion. For instance, the development of an alphabetic code made possible the ability to transcribe the collective knowledge, skills, and abilities of previous generations for each successive generation. Hence, the cumulative knowledge of humankind finally had a vehicle for growth; literacy was born.

Recently, neuroscientists have explored an even greater implication of literacy, particularly the impact of reading on the working brain (Ardila et al., 2010). In other words, does the development of literacy skills actually forge novel and more robust neural pathways in the brain in order to tackle the information processing demands brought on by such a newfound skill? The answer appears to be yes. Multiple studies from a variety of cultures and languages, including Brazil (Deloche, Souza, Braga, & Dellatolas, 1999), China (Li et al., 2006), and the United States (Carreiras et al., 2009), have revealed startling differences in the functional integrity of inter-hemispheric connectivity ...

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