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Building the Reading Brain, Pre K-3

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments About the Authors Introduction 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 Glossary Instructional Resources References and Further Reading Index

About the Author

Pamela Nevills is first and foremost a teacher, working with learners from multiages-primary grades through post graduate students. She supervises student teachers and teaches methods classes at the University of California, Riverside. She has participated on and has been honored by local and state advisory committees. As a two-time panel member for Reading textbook selection for the state of California, she is well versed with state and national content standards. She is a national and international speaker and consultant on topics that include brain development from birth through adulthood, the brain and reading, school designs for all readers, and adult learners. Writing is a recent addition to Nevills's work. She is published through the state of California and by the Journal of Staff Development, and she regularly contributes to organizational newsletters. 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 coaching. She has been featured in a number of videotape productions and satellite broadcasts. Wolfe's major interest over the past 20 years has centered on the educational implications and applications of current neuroscience, cognitive science, and educational research for teaching and learning. She can be reached at Mind Matters, Inc., 555 Randolph Street, Napa, CA 94559, Phone and Fax: (707) 226-1777, Web site:


"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 "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 "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 "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 "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 "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

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