Research on the science of reading brings us closer to understanding how our brains learn to read, but not how our brains actually learn. This distinction is even more important when considering different cultural backgrounds and perspectives. Our brains are wired to make connections and it's easier to learn and store information when there is a hook to hang it on. That hook is background knowledge, and this includes the human emotions and feeling-based connections we all share. Research on early brain development shows that the social-emotional, "feeling" based networks develop long before the executive processing centers are formed. By aligning SoR-based phonics instruction with "universal" frameworks of experience and understanding (ex. having a crush, not getting along, getting hurt, feeling left out, being sneaky, doing what your told, etc.) we can leverage social-emotional intelligence to fast-track reading skill mastery and empower ALL learners to become fearless codebreakers!
Katie Garner, M.Ed. is the author of the best-selling book, "Secret Stories® Cracking the Reading Code with the Brain in Mind," as well as several other popular teacher resources. Katie is an internationally known keynote speaker, author and literacy consultant with thirty years of experience working in classrooms across the US and Canada, and a passion for infusing neuroscience into literacy and learning! Her “backdoor-to-the-brain” approach to fast-tracking phonics skills for reading (via the social and emotional learning systems) shifts the paradigm associated with early literacy instruction. Katie’s fast-paced, dynamic presentations spotlight brain-based strategies for aligning existing reading/phonics curriculum with the science of reading and how our brains learn best. Her practical and proven methods for bringing neuroscience into the forefront of literacy and learning have been shared in both lecture and panel discussions at Harvard University and MIT and have been the subject of numerous professional journal articles.