Images and Learning – Dyslexia; Phoneme to Letter Recognition Versus Visual Recognition

An interesting article in the Guardian from way back (eight years ago, 2004) proposed that the issue of Dyslexia in students is not one of visual dysfunction but instead one reklated to the brains capacity for attaching sounds of partial words or individual letters to there representational symbols; which in the study appears to be a totally different part of the brain or set of pathways to those that deal with the recognition of images.

In this case the student in question was bilingual, and fluent in both English and Japanese, but ONLY dyslexic in English.

I’d be very interested to see a more up to date response to this study, or other educators opinions based on more recent data.

Excerpt from the article which can be read via the hyperlink above:

“The study, led by Li Hai Tan and reported in Nature, may unexpectedly tell us some key things about how dyslexia affects the brain. Brain functioning, and indeed structure, is moulded by experience. Learning a regular spelling system such as Italian creates differences in brain organisation compared to learning highly irregular English. Italian has 26 rules to learn, which takes about six months; English takes longer because there are many irregularities (and several hundred rules). In Chinese 3,500 characters are needed to read the equivalent of the Daily Mail and about 6,000 characters to read books.

The second main difference is that in English each linguistically distinct sound, or phoneme, maps to a single letter. For example, the three phonemes in “bat” map on to three letters. If one letter is changed it makes a new word. A Chinese character maps to a whole syllable. In Putonghua, the national language of China, there are about 1,800 distinguishable syllables; each syllable can have several meanings and each meaning is typically represented by a distinct character.

How will these differences be reflected in brain organisation? Learning Chinese creates specific demands on the areas for remembering visual patterns. English readers make more use of areas for phoneme processing.”

– The Guardian – Thursday 23rd September, 2004.

Article by Brian Butterworth & Joey Tang.

Thanks to Paul Starkey for bringing this to my attention – @paulstarkeygames on Twitter.

He also flagged this articleDesign Vs. Dyslexia: Innovation Promises New Hope for Children With Dyslexia

– Science Daily (Jan. 26, 2010).



~ by hesir on May 10, 2012.

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