As infants, children hear and start to learn sounds. Preschoolers begin to manipulate sounds into spoken words and, as they get older apply and match those sounds to written letters and written words. Young students must then learn vocabulary as well as appropriate structure for sentences, paragraphs and storytelling. Eventually, in elementary school, kids develop and strengthen reading fluency and comprehension skills. There are certain areas of the brain that are highly active as kids learn to read.

Motherly Life Notes

  • Multiple things happen when children learn to read. First, infants learn to process sounds. Preschoolers learn to use and adjust the sounds to create and connect words while learning the meaning of those words. Elementary school aged children then learn to read through a process of connecting the sounds to written letters and words. Throughout this learning, a number of brain regions are involved.

  • The brain regions involved with reading and comprehension include temporal lobe for sounds and frontal lobe for speech and comprehension. The angular and supramarginal gyrus links the parts of the brain used to decipher and connect letter shapes to form words. White matter pathways, a collection of brain nerve fibers, help the brain learn and function.

  • Strong readers start out with strong pathways. Narrow or crowded white matter tracts can affect reading and comprehension skills.


Reading and the Brain