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September 10, 2019

The Goldilocks Effect: Turns out Reading Partners is Just Right!

Telling a story with audio only – too cold! 

Watching an animation – too hot!

Showing images with spoken words put together – just right! 

As reviewed in an NPR article last year, a study by Dr. John Hutton reveals what is happening in our children’s brains when they are told stories in different ways.  At Reading Partners, we are VERY interested in this, to have even more data to back up our work!

The study tested brain activity, measured by MRI, comparing the experience of children listening to a story, listening while looking at illustrations, or watching an animation.  As evidenced by the results, children listening while looking at illustrations produced the strongest story comprehension and brain activity. The audio-only version revealed that children were struggling to comprehend.  And the animation revealed a disconnect between the parts of the brain that help comprehend language, and those that produce meaningfulness or connection to the story.

The author notes that “the children’s understanding of the story was “scaffolded” by having the images as clues” – sound familiar?  This is just what Reading Partners does with each of our sessions. With our “I do, we do, you do” method of instruction, our students listen and interact with an adult who guides them through the text, using the pictures to help detect meaning.  Our students get the Goldilocks treatment, not left to struggle on their own, but not having a computer or tv do it for them.

When the text is too difficult, we watch our student’s eyes glaze over. And when the text is too easy, they are bouncing off the walls!

says state executive director Aarika Riddle. This school year, Reading Partners will work hard to serve room temperature porridge to 1550 students.  Wait, that’s not right, but we will use our evidence based one-on-one instruction model to improve that brain activity, and do just right by our students.

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