Symposium (2 of 5) | Jason Yeatman | Reading Instruction and Building the Neural Circuitry of Literacy
The brain did not evolve specialized circuits for reading. Rather, the process of learning to read induces changes in the underlying structure and function of the brain that support this fundamental academic skill. In other words, education scaffolds the development of the brain's reading circuitry. In this talk, I will first outline the neurobiological underpinnings of literacy and give an overview of how the brain converts symbols on a page to sound and meaning. Then I will present new data showing how reading instruction induces changes in the brain that track the learning process. These data reveal that the anatomical structure of the brain is surprisingly plastic, and that networks of anatomical connections flexibly adapt to meet the demands of a child's learning environment.