Building the Reading Brain, PreK-3

Building the Reading Brain, PreK-3

Hardcover(Second Edition)

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Discover how children’s brains change as they develop early reading skills!

Moving through skills acquisition from birth to age eight, this updated edition of the best-selling book gives educators a clear picture of how children acquire and develop language skills in preparation for reading. This updated edition features developmentally appropriate practices for fostering critical literacy skills in each age group and expanded information on English learners and Response to Intervention. The authors provide:

  • Brain-friendly strategies that build phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency skills
  • Instructional applications for games, music, and play
  • Interventions for children with early reading difficulties

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781412963251
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Publication date: 01/06/2009
Edition description: Second Edition
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Pamela Nevills is first and foremost a teacher, working with learners from multiages—primary grades through post graduate students. She supervises student teachers and teaches methods classes at the University of California, Riverside. She has participated on and has been honored by local and state advisory committees. As a two-time panel member for Reading textbook selection for the state of California, she is well versed with state and national content standards. She is a national and international speaker and consultant on topics that include brain development from birth through adulthood, the brain and reading, school designs for all readers, and adult learners. Writing is a recent addition to Nevills's work. She is published through the state of California and by the Journal of Staff Development, and she regularly contributes to organizational newsletters. 


Patricia Wolfe is an independent consultant who speaks to educators in schools across the United States and in international schools. Her professional background includes public school teaching at all levels: staff development trainier for the Upland School District, director of instruction for the Napa County Office of Education, and a lead trainer for the International Principal Training Center in Rome and London. Her staff development experience includes workshops in Madeline Hunter’s Elements of Effective Teaching and Clinical Supervision, Anthony Gregorc's Mind Styles, Carolyn Evertson’s Classroom Management and Organization, and peer coaching. She has been featured in a number of videotape productions and satellite broadcasts.

Wolfe's major interest over the past 20 years has centered on the educational implications and applications of current neuroscience, cognitive science, and educational research for teaching and learning.  She can be reached at Mind Matters, Inc., 555 Randolph Street, Napa, CA 94559, Phone and Fax: (707) 226-1777, Web site:

Table of Contents

About the Authors
1. On the Nature of Reading
The Importance of Learning to Read
Why Learning to Read Is So Difficult
The Basics of Reading
Reflective Questions
2. What Happens in the Brain When Children Read Words?
Brain Basics
Reading Problems With a Biological Basis
Attention and Memory Systems
Reflective Questions
3. Building a Foundation for Reading: Birth to Age 3
Reading Relies on Early Language Skills
The Beginnings of Language
The Language Explosion: 1 to 2 Years
Precursors to Writing in the First 3 Years
Reflective Questions
4. Emerging Literacy During the Preschool Years
Mirror Neurons Drive Learning
Oral Language and Vocabulary
Print Awareness and Alphabet
Developing Writing Skills
Reflective Questions
5. Beginning to Read: Ages 5 and 6
Instruction Essentials for Emerging Readers
The Brain's Memory Systems
Breaking Away From Static Teaching Tradition
Priming Skills for 5- and 6-Year-Olds
Reflective Questions
6. Breaking the Reading Code: Learning to Read Through Instruction
Reading and Language Arts Guidelines for Kindergarten and First Grade
Structuring the Brain for Decoding
Word Recognition Gains Sophistication
Teaching Encoding: Spelling and Writing
Reading Beyond Encoding and Decoding
Reflective Questions
7. Assessing and Responding to Readers at Risk
The Case for Early Assessment
English Language Learners
Assessments of Students With Regularly Developing Reading Skills
Differences in Brain Development
Assessment and Reading Standards
Response to Intervention: Reading Models
School Interventions That Work
Reflective Questions
8. Comprehension and Vocabulary: Challenges for Second Grade
Reading and Language Arts Guidelines for Second Grade
Instruction for Vocabulary and Comprehension
Ways to Teach the Curious Brain
Building the Brain for Comprehension
Strategic Reading With Comprehension in Mind
Reflective Questions
9. Putting Reading Skills to the Task: Expectations for Third Grade and Beyond
Reading and Language Arts Guidelines for Third Grade
Factors Affecting Reading Fluency
The Brain's Rate of Processing
Developing Reading Fluency
Final Comments
Reflective Questions
10. Conclusion
A Child's Brain and Reading: A Dozen Key Learnings
Instructional Resources
References and Further Reading

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