Kids MD - Tutoring Changes Brain Activity - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

06/09/04

Kids MD - Tutoring Changes Brain Activity

Marc Straus | CWK Network

“We actually are able to see that this remediation makes a difference in the way the brain can function.”
- Bonnie Cohen-Greenberg, learning specialist, discussing tutoring and its impact on brain function -

When Julia Miller was in first grade, she mastered a lot of new skills. But reading wasn’t one of them. She wasn’t reading well; she could not read aloud.

“I was bad at phonics … I was getting things wrong,” explains Julia, who is now 8 years old.

“She was having difficulty reading,” says her mother, Karen Miller. “So we took a different approach to the phonetic program.”

The Millers turned to an intensive reading program called Orton-Gillingham, and Julia’s reading improved dramatically.

Her mom says, “ Julia went from essentially not being able to read at her grade level at all, to -- in a matter of a year -- being able to read above her grade level, through the process of Orton-Gillingham.”

But that’s not all. Research from the Yale School of Medicine shows that intensive tutoring can actually change brain activity. The brains of poor readers start to function like the brains of good readers.

“They were able to tell that through brain imaging,” says Bonnie Cohen-Greenberg, a learning specialist who utilizes Orton-Gillingham. “And you can see the results. There are physical results.”

The study further showed that even a year after the tutoring ended, the changes inside the brain were still visible. That can profoundly help kids like Julia in all areas of school study.

“ I can tell you that improved reading instruction carries over into everything. There is not a single subject in school that is not dependent on reading,” says Cohen-Greenberg.

Julia’s improvement also showed up in black and white -- on her report card.

“Julia’s schoolwork has improved three-fold,” says her mom. “She went from being a C student, to now consistently getting A’s and B’s.”

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