Administrator’s Corner: Learning how to read

Published 10:08 pm Friday, December 7, 2018

Administrator’s Corner by Mary Jo Dorman

Mary Jo Dorman


Many things need to happen for a child to learn to read. It is a complicated process.

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The first step is sounds. Infants learn to process sounds first. From there, in preschool and kindergarten, children will learn phonologically (hearing only), how to manipulate sounds in language, and then begin the process of matching those sounds to the letter symbols.

Different brain regions are involved in reading. The temporal lobe is responsible for phonological awareness and decoding. The frontal lobe produces speech and language comprehension and the supramarginal gyrus, which links the letter shapes together to form words. In addition, pathways in the brain are like a highway system and must be wide enough for information to travel. When it isn’t, this is when reading struggles occur.  The good news is remediation by our teaching staff can change these pathways.

The elementary teaching staff has had significant training this fall in phonological and phonics training to support reading development. We have also increased our instruction to have a much more explicit method to teaching reading development.

There has been much national news about reading difficulties and research to point out that more phonics instruction in needed as third-graders hit a wall in reading. As a school district, we take reading instruction very seriously and are putting significant efforts into this area.

Mary Jo Dorman is the director of elementary programs of Albert Lea Area Schools.