A new brain-imaging study indicates that a specially designed program for second and third graders deficient in reading boosts their reading skills while prodding their brains to respond to written material in the same way that the brains of good readers do. The same investigation found that the remedial instruction typically offered to poor readers in the nation's schools doesn't improve their skills and fails to ignite activity in brain areas that have been linked to effective reading.
"Good teaching can change the brain in a way that has the potential to benefit struggling readers," says pediatrician Sally Shaywitz of Yale University School of Medicine.
At least one in five U.S. grade-schoolers with average or above-average intelligence encounters severe difficulties in learning to read, researchers estimate. In 2000, a panel of educators and scientists convened by Congress concluded that reading disability stems primarily from difficulties in recognizing the corresp