Brain Scans to Predict the Reading Ability in Your Children

Studies indicate that if a seven year old child is breezing through “Harry Potter” books, he or she has the potential of becoming a strong reader in future.

Conversely, if a seven year old is struggling to read “The Cat in the Hat,” then it’s likely that the child will have trouble in going forward with reading.

A new Stanford research indicates that, brain scans of these two groups of children can help in the identification of their neural differences and could eventually develop into a warning system, for struggling students in early stages of their life.

Parents, who identify this in the early stages, can help in the development of reading abilities of their child. These findings could influence the readinglessons for pre-primary kids, customizing lesson plans, according to the needs of individuals.

Brain Scans to Predict the Reading Ability in Your Children

About the study

The brain anatomy of 39 children was scanned by the researchers, once in a year for three years. Then the students undertook standardized tests, for gauging their language, cognitive and reading abilities. The development rate, measured in terms of fractional anisotropy (FA) in white matter area of brain, which is associated with reading abilities, predicted their scores precisely.

Studies which were conducted previously, have revealed that, the reading skills of a child, at the age of seven, can predict their reading abilities, ten year down the line accurately. A child, who struggles to read at seven, will most probably turn out to be a poor reader, by the age of 17.

How it helps

Principal author of the study Jason D. Yeatman, who is a Stanford’s doctoral candidate in psychology, says it is difficult to find ways of helping children with reading issues, by the time they reach primary school. The good news for parents is that, early screening can help in revealing which children are at risk, in their early years. You should observe how your child is doing. If you find him or her having trouble in reading, you can get them screened.

There could be many factors which are responsible for FA values in children, such as genes, experiences and environment. Parents play a key role in the early detection of reading issues in their children. When you read along with your child, you will be able to observe, under which category, your child falls.

What the Author has to say

Yeatman says “Once we have an accurate model relating the maturation of the brain’s reading circuitry to children’s acquisition of reading skills, and once we understand which factors are beneficial, I really think it will be possible to develop early intervention protocols for children who are poor readers, and tailor individualized lesson plans to emphasize good development”


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