[kids-lib] In the News: Brain Power, Why Early Learning Matters (video & article)

Katie Anderson katie.anderson at state.or.us
Wed Oct 12 11:21:02 PDT 2011

Hi!  I just watched an amazing brain development video clip from yesterday's NBC's Education Nation Summit.

Here is a link to the video, Dr. Patricia Kuhl and Dr. Andrew Meltzoff on Brain Power: Why Early Learning Matters: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/44672754#44672754 (Note, there will be a short commercial before the real video plays.)

It is well worth watching the entire 20 minute video, but if you don't have that much time start the video at the 9 minute marker.  You will see and learn about two areas in the brain involved with listening and understanding and talking, socializing, and reading.  You will see in real time a 9 month baby's brain activity change when they hear someone talk to them.  In the last 5 minutes you will see a 45 minutes old new born respond through imitation-demonstrating that we are social learners within the first hour of life.  Also, if you're an Alan Alda fan like me... you're in for a treat!

There is a short editorial/opinion piece written on the summit that is an interesting read whether or not you agree with the author.  Here is the link to the short article:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-ochshorn/early-learning-brain-deve_b_1002779.html

Here are a few points from the article that got my brain working, thinking about what we librarians already know about brain development and how we are using it in our work directly with children and educating parents and care providers. It also got me thinking about Oregon's state-level changes around education, especially early learning.

*         Gregory W.Capelli... [said] "Our children have returned to the classroom, and they're ready to learn,"... I'm not sure where this former research analyst for Credit Suisse got his data... but the last time I checked, only a handful of states were even doing readiness assessments. Moreover, estimates of children unprepared to enter the school house door range from a third to as high as 60 percent, the case in Ohio, for example.

*         None of the governors [at the summit] mentioned readiness. They talked of squeezing more value out of the education dollar, increasing accountability, setting the bar higher for standardized tests, charter schools and choice, reducing the ranks of college freshmen in need of remediation.

*         "If the U.S. is serious about the commitment to making transformative change in our K-12 educational system," [Patricia Kuhl] said, "we will have to take seriously the images you see today." [in this video http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/44672754#44672754]

*         the images couldn't be more concrete evidence of brain-building. The rapid proliferation of synapses. How they're strengthened and pruned through stimulating interaction, including talking, singing, and reading. [Hey, that sounds a lot like the focus of Every Child Ready to Read 2nd Edition!]

*         "Children who show lots of activity in response to words and sentences early on develop words faster until the age of three, and their reading readiness is better at the age of five." [said Kuhl]
Katie Anderson, Library Development Services
* Youth Services Consultant * Oregon Center for the Book Coordinator *
Oregon State Library, 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, OR 97301
katie.anderson at state.or.us<mailto:katie.anderson at state.or.us>, 503-378-2528

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