Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Theresa Knipstein Meyer


"Does it matter to learning if we pay attention? ...You bet it does" (Medina, 2007, p. 74). Studies John Medina, Richard Mayer, and numerous others prove the more attention the brain gives to a certain stimulus results in better retention of the information due to the fact that the information is more elaborately encoded. The more attention grabbing something is, the more emotion that is involved, means the better that information is remembered. As a future teacher, this detail has many implications for me. If I want students who are learning, then I need to design lessons that invite the students to participate emotionally since emotion is the driver of attention, which is the driver oflearning (Sylwester, 2000, p.23)

With the development of modern brain scanning technologies such as the EEG and PET scan, the ability to see and research how the brain functions has opened up new areas for research. These technologies have proven to be a valuable resource to schools, as scientists are making discoveries about how different brains carry out certain tasks.

One of these tasks that is receiving a lot of research coverage is looking at how the brain learns to read. The information database on how the brain learns to read is slowly expanding and should have a valuable impact on the classroom. If teachers choose to realign their teaching methods with strategies that coincide with how the brain actually learns to read, imagine the vast amount of learning that could take place. This relatively new area of study could revolutionize schools as we know them.

A few interesting findings that these studies have already revealed are: novice readers use different cerebral pathways while reading than skilled readers; people with reading difficulties use different brain regions to decode written text than do typical readers; and with proper instructional intervention, the brain of young, struggling readers can actually be rewired to use cerebral areas that more closely resemble those used by typical readers (Sousa, 2005, p. 5). Neuroscience and cognitive psychology have worked together to make a large impact on the reading curriculum. Brain imaging studies have opened up a new field of study. Some schools, called brain compatible schools, are embracing these findings to set up learning environments that correspond to how the brain actually functions. Teachers need to embrace these findings and ask themselves, "What can I take from these studies and apply to my teaching so that student learning is increased?" Teachers of reading should take note and capitalize on the research that is available.