How the Brain Learns to Read: Decoding, Comprehension, and Motivation
August 17, 2020 written by PDC
Teachers must understand how our minds learn this amazing ability. To help teachers achieve that learning objective, Professional Development Courses at the University of La Verne offers its popular course How the Brain Learns to Read: Decoding, Comprehension, and Motivation.
How the Brain Learns to Read: Decoding, Comprehension, and Motivation
Researchers cannot agree on when humans first started talking. Some say it happened 50,000 years ago, while others date the beginnings of speech to nearly 2 million years in the past. Despite the debate, there is at least a consensus that we developed the skills of reading and writing approximately 5,000 years ago.
When it comes to daily life, speaking and listening may be the most often-used skills. However, in terms of academic life, reading is arguably the most essential. From libraries to the Internet, our world is filled with knowledge retained in written format.
Reading is not a natural skill to acquire, though. Research in cognitive neuroscience suggests that our brains are more suited to understanding speech than reading and writing. As a species, we have managed to get around that obstacle, but even in the modern era, some students still struggle. For this reason, teachers must understand how our minds learn this amazing ability. To help teachers achieve that learning objective, Professional Development Courses at the University of La Verne offers its popular course How the Brain Learns to Read: Decoding, Comprehension, and Motivation.
The Importance of Understanding How Students Learn to Read
Student reading problems can have several causes, and they are rarely related to intelligence. Some students may face a language barrier if they are attempting to read a text in a language that is not their native tongue. Others might live in a social or cultural environment where reading is deemphasized or not encouraged. It is not uncommon for reading problems to be related to attention disorders or even physical issues, such as dyslexia. In many cases, it is merely a matter of students having different learning styles or of teachers finding the right materials to motivate the learner.
No matter what the initial cause, once a reader falls behind their peers, they can experience a loss of confidence and wind up avoiding reading altogether. Such an outcome can be detrimental to their long-term success in virtually any life endeavor. If students fail to learn how to read correctly, then they will never be able to read to learn new things. Thus, they may find their potential capped early in their academic career.
Educators play an enormous part in the process of getting students to read. Since teachers can never know how much reading is taking place in the home, it is often left up to them to fill in the gaps and do the heavy lifting. Many, though, may have no formal training related to teaching the process of learning to read. Without this basic understanding, they can end up using ineffective methods that lead to frustration and mixed results. A better way to tackle the problem is discovering the fundamentals of how reading works, starting with the organic process of how the brain works.
Benefits of the Course How the Brain Learns to Read
There is not a clear transition between the processes of "learning to read" and "reading to learn." However, one element must come first—the “learning to read” element. This process starts with decoding, or the ability to apply letter-sound relationships, including letter patterns, to correctly pronounce written words. By becoming familiar with these relationships, readers can quickly “decode” words they do not already know.
How the Brain Learns to Read: Decoding, Comprehension, and Motivation combines multidisciplinary research drawn from the fields of brain science, psychology, education, linguistics, and other related areas. The course offers best practices for teaching decoding and other critical foundations of reading development that shape understanding and teaching methods for every school grade. It also provides specific instructional techniques focused on comprehension, motivation, decoding, and ways to tailor teaching to the unique needs and challenges of the student. The curriculum is detailed, yet straightforward, and readily applicable to all K-12 teachers.
Topics include learning:
- Insights into how reading affects competence with spoken language.
- The importance of phonemes, the smallest parts of spoken language.
- How to raise phonemic awareness(focusing on and using phonemes in speech).
- How to teach beginning readers to master the alphabetic code.
- How to match language sounds with letters and words.
- Reasonable timeline expectations for teaching fluency and comprehension.
- Appropriate methods to help students of all grade levels overcome challenges.
- New research-based programs for reading instruction.
- Curriculum-based motivational tools.
- How to use prosody to enhance comprehension and fluency.
- How to leverage the power of digital literacy and Internet-based resources.
How the Brain Learns to Read Course Contents
How the Brain Learns to Read: Decoding, Comprehension, and Motivation, offered by Professional Development Courses at the University of La Verne, opens the floodgates for several exciting new approaches to teaching reading. Course contents include:
- How humans learn spoken language.
- Fundamentals of learning to read.
- The difference between encoding and decoding.
- Reading comprehension strategies for content areas.
- How to spot, assess, and overcome specific student reading difficulties.
- How to instill a thirst for knowledge to motivate readers.
- Seeding the self-concept that students are readers, even before they can read.
- Anticipating and preventing motivational backslide.
- Methods to attain fluency over a realistic timeline.
- Managing complex text reading.
- Tactics for assisting adult readers facing challenges.
The curriculum was designed for busy working K-12 teachers who want the flexibility and convenience of a distance learning course that will earn graduate credit from an accredited university. All content is self-paced, written in user-friendly language, and can be completed in an online or via emailed PDF format.
Successful completion of How the Brain Learns to Read: Decoding, Comprehension, and Motivation can help teachers make noticeable impacts on the lives of their students. The new skills and credits received may also boost your professional career, qualifying you for potential promotions, pay increases, or license renewal/recertification.
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Note, the University of La Verne is accredited by the Western Association of Schools. Since requirements may vary, students should check with their school district or state department of education before enrolling in any course.
How to Register
How the Brain Learns to Read: Decoding, Comprehension, and Motivation is completed in an online or via emailed PDF format. It is open for anyone to register at any time during an open semester. After completion, students receive graduate, non-degree semester credit reflected on an official transcript from the university.
Registration is fast and straightforward and can be done online or over the phone. Courses are offered on a rolling basis during three standard semesters, and you can begin whenever you are ready! Students may enroll in up to 15 credits each semester. The registration dates are:
- Fall: September 1 - January 31
- Spring: February 1 - May 31
- Summer: June 1 - August 31
Why wait to make a difference in the lives of our future generations? Register today and crack the code of how students learn to read, so you can empower them with a skill they will use forever!