There’s a lot of excellent brain research out there on how to build a “reading” brain rapidly. Three crucial tenets are:
- Practice daily. (Five times per week.)
- Train the brain to recognize word parts, words and phrases automatically.
- Strengthen the essential cognitive skills of processing speed and working memory.
Let’s look at each one.
1. Practice Daily
WowzaBrain does this because daily practice is a cornerstone of our program. It’s not rocket science, but most programs won’t get this daily practice in. They either don’t know how important it is, or they are afraid to tell you because they know it’s not what you want to hear. It’s a lot of work, but the brain is most responsive to the daily demands placed on it by the environment. Practicing once or a few times a week doesn’t reap the same rewards that daily practice will. We highly encourage daily practice because we’ve seen that it is the kindest way to grow your child’s brain for reading.
We do it better by showing parents (through demo videos and our DIY Guidebooks) how to group simple, specific, three-to-five minute games and techniques into daily sessions of 40 minutes. We know it’s better because of the results parents have produced. On average, their children have made reading and cognitive gains of two grade levels or more in four to five months. We think you can do it too. It’s a matter of shaping your child’s learning environment, so they get daily exposure to print in a structured way that builds on what they accomplished from the previous day. The brain can’t help growing reading skills with this brain-friendly format. Programs that provide less than daily practice and jump around from one random skill to another make it harder for your child to become a stronger, successful student.
2. Train the brain to recognize word parts, words, and phrases automatically.
Researchers know that kids who have difficulties with reading almost always struggle with recognizing words automatically. We see this at all grade levels. Kids’ brains are working far too hard to pull words off the page. Researchers tell us they need to recognize a word in about three-tenths of a second, on average. WowzaBrain does this and does it better because we use metronomes and stopwatches to gently push kids to get faster on this foundational reading task. We know these techniques and others help them recognize words just a little faster each day, and over a matter of a few months, they begin to find reading a lot easier and more rewarding. It is common for our students to double their reading speed or more. Shockingly, most reading programs don’t help kids get faster at recognizing words. They use the old, slow, take-all-the-time-you-want style of teaching reading. This slow-response method doesn’t help kids rapidly build brains that effortlessly recognize words so they can become strong readers capable of tackling grade-level homework with confidence.
3. Strengthen the essential cognitive skills of processing speed and working memory.
Reading is a lot more than just calling out words. Reading is a highly-sophisticated cognitive task that requires quick thinking with language and images. The rate at which you think is called “processing speed.” Reading also requires remembering what you just read briefly so you can connect it to what you already know and will read in the next sentences from the text. This is “working memory.” Both processing speed and working memory make reading possible for the brain. Your child must develop these skills to comprehend and learn from what they read.
WowzaBrain develops all these cognitive skills and does it better because we integrate them into the reading games we’ve created. Too many programs separate cognitive skills from reading or don't address cognitive skills at all. When a child can work on both their reading and cognitive skills simultaneously, a synergistic response occurs. The brain grows the skills needed to be an efficient reader rapidly. This is why our students typically grow two-to-three grade levels in their reading skills over the four-to-six month period they train.
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