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Building the Reading Brain, PreK-3

Building the Reading Brain, PreK-3

Second Edition
Edited by:
  • Pamela Nevills - Educational Consultant and Teacher Educator, Southern California
  • Patricia Wolfe - International Educational Consultant, Mind Matters, Inc.

232 pages | Corwin
This Second Edition focuses on young children's brain development and shows teachers how to foster the critical early literacy skills that help students become successful readers. The authors discuss phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency; offer instructional applications for games, music, and play; and provide intervention suggestions for children with early reading difficulties.
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

"An absolute must-read, must-understand, and must-do for all primary teachers and principals. Nevills and Wolfe's book addresses the difficult issues of diagnosis and intervention with early readers before they begin to struggle.”

Judy Bean, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, & Assessment
Colville School District, WA

"A unique resource that provides a biological foundation for effective reading strategies. It is a valuable resource for any educator."

Deborah Tucker, Science and Literacy Education Consultant

"The research information is powerful for educators to interpret for practical, everyday use and can be supplemented with current reading curriculum.”

J. Michael Pragman, Elementary Administrator, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, MO
Adjunct Professor, William Woods University

“I devoured this book! The book makes research come alive and accessible whether you are new to literacy work or have been immersed in it for years!”

Sharon Gatti-Carson, Literacy Consultant

“Besides providing comprehensible information on neuroscience and learning, the book gives many excellent strategies and ideas for working with a variety of readers from emergent literacy through third grade. I highly recommend this book for all educators at all age levels.”

Janet J. Seahorn, Adjunct Professor, Colorado State University and Regis University
Director of Team Pursuits, Colorado State Development Council, National Reading Association

“This is an amazing resource for all persons interested in improving their instructional practice or understanding of how the young child’s brain is wired for reading, and how tapping into strategic reading practices will promote comprehension, fluency, and reading enjoyment. The authors make the most current research in neuroscience and reading engaging and interesting. This well-constructed book is one of my favorites!”

Jill Gierach, Director
Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

Pamela Ann Nevills

Pamela Nevills is first and foremost a teacher of children and adults. Her passion for teaching includes a full range of educator experiences from teaching in the primary grades, to teaching middle and high school, to being a teacher supervisor and instructor in university undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. She participates in local, state, and national educational committees in the area of special education. As a two-time member of the instructional textbook selection committee for reading in the state of California, she brings expert knowledge of how children learn... More About Author

Patricia A. Wolfe

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... More About Author