Testing a Child’s Reading Future

It’s the joy of every mom and dad to see their kids learn something new. However, the possibility of being able to learn how to read is somehow uncertain. But what if there is a test that can help determine a toddler’s reading future?

Nina Kraus, a Neurobiology and Physiology Professor, along with her team at Northwestern University, stated that they discovered a way to predict the literacy skill of a child long before they are old enough to begin reading. Her team has began developing such a method in order to make their research into a reliable and established test.

To Kraus, flagging or pointing out some preschoolers or toddlers to be potentially troubled readers before they have even tried to read is like arresting and investigating someone about a crime that has not yet occurred. That is why she and her team of experts carefully studied at the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory as to how the test they developed could help them peek into a child’s reading future.

But before Kraus introduced the test, she first explains how a child begins to read. According to Kraus, reading starts not with one’s eyes but with one’s ears, as people hear, categorize and archive speech sounds before they can recognize letters and symbols on a page. Kraus also emphasized that everything people hear is processed by the brain. It’s hard work because the brain has to separate the sounds that are meaningful from pure irrelevant noise; the brain does this in microseconds.

Kraus also said that when the brain categorizes a certain sound, an electric reflection is created. It means that the brain waves copy the sound waves that they are reacting to. She added that the loads of information carried in these brain waves help her tell when a 3-year-old who hasn’t started reading may have trouble reading in the future.

According to Kraus, before the test begins, the child is instructed to sit in a chair. They are given ample time to get comfortable and ready. They are then allowed to choose a movie they want to watch. While watching, buttons or scalp electrodes are attached to the child's head to monitor the brain waves. On the left ear, the child hears the movie. On the right, he hears noises; first, indistinct or unclear chatter of several individuals and second, the sound “Da”. As the entire team observes the kid’s brain waves, they can see how well the child separates “Da” from all other sounds and noises.

Kraus elaborated that in order to determine a youngster’s literacy potential, they will look to how the brain can significantly capture or separate the tiny speech sound “Da”, in spite of all the noise and other sounds. They also consider factors like timing, consistency and harmonics.

Though there are still many things to improve on and experiment with, Kraus and her team is positive that this test will be useful in the future in helping kids with literacy challenges.

More about


Top Posts | Early Literacy

This Library is All about Early Literacy

The world has changed. Going from everything that is needed to be done by hand, we have progressed onto using technology to handle most, if not all, of our day-to-day tasks.This means that we need to make sure that our children and the generations that come after us are well versed in these technol ...

Speakaboos Is Here for Early Literacy

To address issues regarding literacy, new programs are regularly being created and implemented by governments, education departments and teachers everywhere. To provide extra solutions, organizations and other companies create websites, develop apps and other things online that will also give aid a ...

Philly’s $30 Million Early Literacy Push

Teaching kids how to read at an early age is one way of troubleshooting literacy challenges or problems. That is why school districts throughout Pennsylvania have been allotting an large parts of their budgets to push their early literacy programs and endeavors.40 school districts sent almost 700 k ...

Testing a Child’s Reading Future

It’s the joy of every mom and dad to see their kids learn something new. However, the possibility of being able to learn how to read is somehow uncertain. But what if there is a test that can help determine a toddler’s reading future?Nina Kraus, a Neurobiology and Physiology Professor, ... ...

Great Magazines for Kids

How much do your kids love getting mail? If they're anything like my niece, they LOVE it. One of her "jobs" is bringing the mail in, and I always give her the junk mail as "her mail". She loves it even though she doesn't know what it says, and it's usually just a pos ... ...

Early Literacy Gets Family Driven

To have a strong base in literacy from the very start of one’s education is important for every student. Knowing how to read and speak the language in which most of the academic courses are taught is the most basic and vital step in anyone’s educational life.Emergent Literacy Begins at ... ...

Early Learning Space Needs to Be Replicated

Simply put, an early learning space is a place where kids can experience early literacy practices like talking, playing, singing, reading and writing. Do we really need these early learning spaces? Perhaps in today's world, it wouldn't hurt to have more of these.The development of a child i ... ...

Augmented Reality Early Literacy Program Excites

Some incredible educational software is set to be released next month that will use Augmented Reality technology to boost literacy levels in young learners. The new software, known as Letters Alive, could represent the beginning of a shift in educational methods, and many schools will welcome this ...

Reading is the Key to Early Literacy

In order to raise literacy levels in young children, it’s vital to act quickly and encourage them to read as early as possible. The ability for a child to communicate is vital to his or her social development; it will allow your child to interact with their family, make friends, ask questions ... ...

Here Comes the Bus for Early Literacy

A community outreach program designed to encourage reading in young children is being pushed forward in the West Allegheny school district, specifically the Findlay, North Fayette and Oakdale regions. The scheme involves a community mobile library, or Book Bus, driving around the area and encouragi ...