Welcome to the April 2015 edition of The Learning Brain.
Where have the first few months of this year gone? It’s Easter already and Term One has finished!
As usual, there is a lot happening in neuroscience and learning. This month you can read about autism research and learn more about how our memory works. You can also get new worksheets for the LearnFast Maths Skills Booster.
PS: Would you like to work with us? LearnFast is expanding and needs people passionate about learning. See What’s New for details.
New Insights About the Autistic Brain
People with autism may simultaneously have too much connectivity in some parts of their brain and poor connectivity in other parts, according to new research from Carnegie Mellon University, USA, published in Nature Neuroscience in January 2015.
The research compared brain scans from a group of people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and brain scans of a control group with normally developing brains. Unlike the control group, the brains in the autistic group were all different, each showing unique patterns of connectivity. Read more here.
LearnFast Expands – More Passionate People Needed
How would you like your work to help build students’ learning capacity and their literacy? LearnFast is expanding, so we want to work with more people passionate about learning. Our mission is to bring the power of neuroscience to students in Australia and New Zealand. Want to know more?
New Film to Educate Teachers about Dyslexia
A new Federal Government funded documentary is being produced to help explain dyslexia to schools. The film “Outside the Square” is a community project that aims to raise awareness about dyslexia, which is estimated to affect 1 in 10 children. The producer, Tanya Forbes, hopes to have it screened in every school.
Powering the Mind
What is memory? In this episode of ABC TV’s Catalyst, they investigate how our memories change from childhood to adulthood and how we can build up greater brain reserves to power our mind into old age.
They also reveal new Australian research on brain epigenetics – how the expression of our DNA can be changed by our experiences and even those of our parents. This episode is well worth watching!
Maths Skills Booster – April Worksheets
Thanks for your emails about the Maths Skills Booster. It’s great that so many of you have found it beneficial. Are you ready to give your child a new challenge with a different set of worksheets? Download them here.
Did you miss out on the original Maths Skills Booster? You can get it here.
Book of the Month
How We Learn
The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens by Benedict Carey
What if almost everything we were told about learning is wrong? And what if there was a way to achieve more with less effort?
In How We Learn, award-winning science reporter Benedict Carey sifts through decades of education research and landmark studies to pinpoint exactly how our brains absorb and retain information. Read more.
App of the Month
English Grammar – Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives and Adverbs
This app helps students learn about nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Every lesson includes exercises that test the student’s understanding of each concept. There are a total of more than 200 exercises, many of which include photos and images to keep the student interested and focused. The app supports unlimited user accounts with detailed progress reports for each student. It is recommended for ages 7 to 11 years. Learn more.
Autism Awareness Australia is running a workshop for parents & caregivers on Sunday19th April and a workshop for teachers & professionals on Monday 19th April in Sydney. Check out the details here.
Does this sound like your child?
“It would really pain me when I used to listen to my son read and he’d look at a word and couldn’t for the life of him try and sound it out. He just couldn’t do it”.
This is how Alice described her 12 year old son’s reading before he did the Fast ForWord program.
Her son Ryan was able to go from a reluctant struggling reader, to a determined flourishing student using the neuroscience based exercises in the program. Read how he did it here.
Questions and Answers
Do you have questions about your child or students? Email us
Questions: My son is in his 6th month of the Fast ForWord program. The change in him has been remarkable. His report at the end of last year was his best ever, not only has his comprehension and reading improved but so has his behaviour. He seems happier, more settled and motivated. He was excited to go back to school this year and keen to do his homework every afternoon. I know this might sound crazy but is it possible that the change in his behaviour is due to the Fast ForWord program?
Answer: Yes it is. Because Fast ForWord works simultaneously on developing both language skills and cognitive skills, it increases student’s capacity to learn and remember. With improved oral and written language skills, schoolwork becomes easier and the student becomes more confident with improved self-esteem. Greater competence leads to improved confidence with subsequent improved behaviour.