S1 E8: Inside the Reading Brain with Dr. Carolyn Strom

S1 E8: Inside the Reading Brain with Dr. Carolyn Strom
Reading Road Trip
S1 E8: Inside the Reading Brain with Dr. Carolyn Strom

Aug 21 2023 | 00:55:57

Episode 8 August 21, 2023 00:55:57

Hosted By

IDA Ontario Kate Winn

Show Notes

This week, Kate is joined by Dr. Carolyn Strom for a conversation about the reading brain. What are the neural underpinnings of how students learn to read? How can research in this field help us in the classroom?

Carolyn is a clinical assistant professor of Early Childhood Literacy at NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture Education and Human Development. Her work is focused on bridging the divide between scientific research and instructional practices. You can find her on Twitter and at her website.


Show Notes:

Carolyn's A Tale of Three Cities is an analogy that helps clarify the neural circuitry involved in language and literacy. For a visual representation, take a look at the diagram.

In the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation, we are amplifying the work of an Indigenous creator in every episode. This week’s pick is the picture book The Sharing Circle by Theresa (Corky) Larsen-Jonasson, illustrated by Jessica Von Innerebner.

Are you an educator listening to Reading Road Trip with your colleagues? Use our Podcast Discussion Guide to support your discussions.

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Episode Transcript

Kate Winn 00:00:05 Hello to all you travelers out there on the road to evidence-based literacy instruction. I'm Kate Winn, classroom teacher and host of IDA Ontario's new podcast, Reading Roadtrip. Welcome to the show. This is episode eight of our very first season. Before we get started, we would like to acknowledge that we are recording this podcast from the traditional land of the Mississauga Anishinabe. We are grateful to live here and thank the generations of First Nations people for their care, for and teachings about the Earth. We also recognize the contributions of Metis, Inuit, and other Indigenous peoples in shaping our community and country. Along with this acknowledgement and in the spirit of truth and reconciliation, we'd like to amplify the work of an Indigenous artist, and this week we are sharing The Sharing Circle by Theresa (Corky) Larsen-Jonasson, illustrated by Jessica Von Innerebner. When two red foxes have an argument which breaks apart their community, a gentle Buffalo decides to take a braid of sweetgrass to a local elder and asks her to help with a sharing circle for all the animals. Kate Winn 00:01:14 Add this book to your home or classroom library today and now on with the show. I am super excited to introduce our guest this week, Dr. Carolyn Strom. She is a clinical assistant professor of Early Childhood Literacy at NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture Education and Human Development. Her work is focused on bridging the divide between scientific research and instructional practices. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, has a master's degree from USC in Reading Education, and a PhD from NYU. As a teacher educator and classroom researcher, Carolyn is passionate about linking what is known about how the brain learns with how reading is taught. Currently, she's leading an initiative with early childhood educators and families called Cortex in the Classroom. This work focuses on the practical application of reading, research and on the development of new instructional media for supporting early reading. Carolyn has studied the course of children's reading and spelling development for the past two decades and published her work in the reading teacher, the Reading League Journal, and the Handbook of Learning Disabilities. She maintains an active clinical practice where she works with children who have dyslexia and related reading difficulties. She's a state certified reading specialist with advanced phonics training and was a classroom teacher for eight years. That is quite a bio and welcome, Dr. Carolyn Strom. Carolyn Strom 00:02:34 Thank you. I'm so happy to be here. Thanks for hosting this podcast. Kate Winn 00:02:40 Now, Carolyn and I have been Twitter friends for a while now, and I just wanted to share a quick story that last September when I was heading to New York City with my daughters for my belated end of cancer treatment celebration, Carolyn and I made plans. We were gonna have a lunch date, but unfortunately it ended up being canceled. I don't know if COVID was a really good excuse Carolyn <laugh>, but I will forgive it and I know we will meet face-to-face someday, but right now it's screen to screen because we can see each other, even though our listeners now can only hear us. And we are going to chat all about the reading brain. So I'm gonna jump right in with my first question for you. So I love how you have three core principles about how our brain learns to read. And I'm hoping we can start with number one, our brains aren't wired for reading. So could you give us a little explanation of what that means? Carolyn Strom 00:03:26 Yeah. Well, I think, you know, there, there are misconceptions that dominate the field <laugh>, right? And that lead us to not fully understand what's going on with reading. And I think the first big idea in the science of reading is that we're unlike spoken language, right? We're not wired for written language. Um, so I always say, if you're gonna start, if you're gonna accept sort of the science of reading, you have to accept, right? This principle that the only reason we can read is because we have brain plasticity, right? Because we can rewire our brains, which are wired for spoken language, we can rewire them, um, for written language, right? Um, and, uh, along those lines, we also know when the brain is most sensitive right? To environmental input and to language. And we know that the brain is the most sensitive and most plastic with language, uh, in the earliest years Kate Winn 00:04:14 And you have come up with a fabulous model for educators or parents or really all of us who are non neuroscientists, but who have a vested interest in the reading brain. And you call it a tale of three cities. And I can personally say, I find that it makes it so easily understandable the way this, um, this brain restructuring works. And it kind of ties into your second principle. Learning to read requires major brain restructuring. So before we get into how all that works, could you just start by identifying the three key areas in the brain? We'll be talking about, like what scientists would call those and what you call those three areas. And before I let you answer, I do wanna mention to listeners that now we're not going to get into the myth of learning styles, but if you would prefer to look at a picture while Carolyn is explaining this, you can go to our website podcast.idaontario.com. And this is episode eight with Dr. Carolyn Strom. We have a picture there that might help if you want to look at, look at an image while she is, is describing these three areas for us. But Carolyn, please go ahead and tell us about those three areas. Carolyn Strom 00:05:15 Yeah, well, so, um, I think when, when thinking about the brain, right? The brain is, does a lot of things, right? We do do a lot of things 'cause of the brain and, uh, the area that we do our most think our thinking in our thinking and reasoning and planning and learning is in the cortex, right? So I think you're talking about the sort of left hemisphere of the cortex, right? I have an image that the poster you're talking about, um, and the way I like to explain it to kids especially and, and to educators, is we have to bring three areas of our brain together in order to learn to read, right? I mentioned earlier that we're wired for spoken language. And so we have the spoken language regions of our brain, these areas of our brain, uh, that I call Sound City and Meaning Mountains, right? Carolyn Strom 00:05:55 Um, some people call that the semantic processing and the phonological processing, right? But the spoken language areas are where you process sounds, where you process, meaning, where you process spoken language, right? Where you, they call it receptive and expressive language. Those, that's the spoken language regions of the brain, Sound City, and Meaning Mountains for short, uh, in the model. Um, but we're wired for that. And we're not wired for reading, right? Which means we're not wired to connect spoken language to vision. Uh, so in order to read, we have to connect these spoken language regions, Meaning Mountains and, and Sound City to, uh, what I call Vision Villages, right? To, to the part of our brain that can see a word, right? You need to be able to see the letters and then connect them to, to sounds and the, and the meaning, which is connecting vision vi Vision Villages, uh, to Sound City and Meaning Mountains. Carolyn Strom 00:06:43 Uh, again, and it's, thank you for referencing the chart. 'cause it's a little hard to explain in this audio, uh, format. Um, but the big idea is that you, you know, use areas of your brain responsible for vision. What, what some people call the occipital lobe, right? To process the visual input. And in order to read, you have to connect what you see to the sounds, connect the letters to the sounds, and connect it to meaning. Um, and that's building a circuit, right? And the more that you connect, make the connections between those three cities, uh, the more that you build this reading circuit, right? And really what the reading circuit is, is the connections between areas, uh, responsible for vision areas, responsible for sound processing or auditory processing, uh, and areas responsible for meaning. Um, so it's just a, the tale of three cities is a, is a visual, is a, it's sort of a, a metaphor I use with kids and teachers to help understand how, you know, building the reading brain is kind of like building these train tracks, building a circuit, right? And the trains have to go through these three cities. So we have to, uh, it's an oversimplification, right? Uh, but in order to read, we need to connect these three areas of the brain. And I think that's, um, can be a little abstract without, uh, kind of a, a visual reference or metaphor, like building a train tracks and building the circuit for, for a train. Kate Winn 00:07:55 For sure. So we're going to dig in a little deeper to some of the things that you've mentioned. So we've got those three cities, and what do we know about how Sound City and Meaning Mountains already work together? Before you introduce print, just how do those two areas, just quickly tell us how those two work together? We've got our sound cities and Meaning Mountains. Carolyn Strom 00:08:13 Yes. So with the, the scientific terms, right? For those would be the semantic areas of the brain or the temporal lobe. Um, and then, uh, the sort of the chronological areas of the brain, or the part that processes auditory, auditory, uh, auditory input, right? And that's really where, uh, that's, that's where we have expressive and receptive language, right? That's where we know that kids can learn the names of things very quickly. We know that conversation is so important. We know that in the earliest years, that spoken language area had so much potential, right? We really wanna build those connections, uh, for spoken language. We know that being bilingual actually enhances those regions, right? And builds those regions and builds up areas for executive functioning. Um, and we know that this is an area, these spoken language regions are, are areas that, um, uh, I I you really are built through interactive conversation and through explicit vocabulary instruction and through a deep discussion of topics, right? So the spoken language area, which will become a part of the reading network, right? The whole, the whole system, um, really starts with language, not just with books, but with talking about topics, right? And asking questions, and really extending our sort of mastery of, of the lexicon, right? Of our, our general spoken language. Um, I think a big takeaway around, around building spoken language for the earliest years is really around conversation, but conversation around topics, right? Around going into topics and really understanding how, um, systems of knowledge. Kate Winn 00:09:45 So if I'm understanding you correctly, so the Sound City, the Meaning Mountains, that's kind of already the natural piece that's happening in the brain. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we don't have to do anything, anything different or explicitly try to set that part up. The spoken language piece comes along naturally with the exposure and with practice and all of that. But then we start to introduce print… Carolyn Strom 00:10:04 Hold on. I'll just say one thing there, just one thing. The one part of Sound City, and we'll get into this, that doesn't come naturally, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, is that we are not naturally wired to attend to individual sounds and words. Kate Winn 00:10:16 Right? Okay, good. Carolyn Strom 00:10:17 So we are naturally wired to attend to meaning mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right? When we listen, uh, to people speaking, we we're focusing on the meaning in the auditory stream, right? We're not focusing on, you talked about a sandwich. I didn't focus on the, I focused on thinking about the sandwich you're talking about, right? I am not gonna focus on the /s/, or the /ch/ right? That's, and we see that, right? With, with kids who can read, or people who can read, they're able to identify individual sounds and words. They have strong sound sensitivity. If you don't learn to read, right? Um, you, you don't develop that same kind of sound sensitivity. 'cause that's not how we're wired. We actually have to train the brain to focus on individual sounds. Kate Winn 00:10:53 Okay? That's a great clarification. Thank you. Carolyn Strom 00:10:55 Otherwise, Sound City and Meaning Mountains are totally intertwined. Yes. Uh, if, if you have hearing right? And, and, and meaning is intertwined with your manual world, right? If whatever your language is, right? Kate Winn 00:11:07 Perfect. Okay. And so then the squiggles, as you call them, or the, you know, the letters, the graphemes… kids are introduced to print. And so that's where Vision Villages come into play. So could you describe the route that develops there, that connects, you know, the Vision Villages and the Sound City and the Meaning Mountains? Carolyn Strom 00:11:25 Yes. So, um, when I explain this to kids, you know, we say, you come with spoken language. You guys have this rich spoken language. You know a lot about your family world, your home world, your, like, the world on the street, your community, right? You know, all of these things. You're, you're able to, you, you know what a walrus is, what an elephant is. You know all of these words, right? But if you saw them in print, you wouldn't necessarily be able to recognize them, even though you know them, you know what they are. 'cause you know them, they have places in your spoken language regions, right? Where Sound City and Meaning Mountains really connect. They have places there, but words also have this visual form, right? And in order to recognize them in their visual form, uh, we have to look at these letters, these squiggles that we see and turn them into sounds, right? Carolyn Strom 00:12:09 And that happens in a different area of the brain, which again, is, is is Vision Villages. Um, so, you know, really that's the only way I tell them. We tell them it's the only way for a word. This squiggles lines and dots, these lines on paper, right? To connect to meaningful units. They're not meaningful. They're just squiggles lines and dots that people have created in these different alphabets, right? Um, and so the only way it's in an alphabetic system to figure out what these squiggles lines and dots mean, is to attach them to Sounds and Sound City, right? There's no direct route, uh, from print, right? Straight to meaning, because that's not what the squiggles lines and dots represent, right? They don't represent meaningful units.In the case of morphemes, sure. But sure, uh, they, it really comes down to they represent sounds, these squiggles lines and dots represent sounds. Carolyn Strom 00:12:59 And so the only way that we can figure out how spoken language makes sense of, of this, these, this, these visual symbols we're seeing is to go through Sound City, right? So we have to turn in the case of a b, we have to, or a line and a circle, we have to turn it into a /b/, right? And then we have turn an a or the circle into an /a/, and then t into a /t/, right? And that is building the connection between Vision Villages, uh, and Sound City also is simply put in sort of a scientific and neuroanatomy, right? You're building the connections between the occipital lobe, right? Um, and then the parietal and the, the frontal lobe, and as well as the temporal lobe, which is basically building the connections between Vision Villages and, um, and spoken language regions, right? Carolyn Strom 00:13:43 So you just have to make that, um, that transfer, right? It's really like you have to exchange a symbol for a sound. They're two different kinds of input, you know, so you have to, you have to exchange them, and then you have to blend them, right? So it's not enough to just be able to map them, right? The mapping occurs between Vision Villages and Sound City. But then you have to blend. So if you can map and you can go act, but then you can't blend, right? Uh, that's also a Sound City skill, uh, that happens in Sound City too, right? So the mapping, uh, is helped by Sound City and the blending, the blending the sound together, uh, is also in Sound City, a diff little bit of a different part of Sound City, the part of the city more towards the frontal part of the brain that, that, uh, controls sequencing of auditory sounds, right? Carolyn Strom 00:14:30 Um, and then when you bring it together, you're able to bring them together. Then you have to recruit Meaning Mountains, right? Because that's, that's where the meaning is held. So if you can identify and map and go act and blend bat, but you don't have a little home for it in Meaning Mountains, uh, then it's not really gonna land anywhere, right? It has, it has nothing to link to. Uh, it's not gonna stick. Um, but if you have a whole repertoire of information about bats and different kinds of bats and experiences with bats, and you know how to use bat in a sentence, right? It's gonna be much easier, uh, for your brain to sort of like attach, attach there, right? Um, and that route between Vision Villages, Sound City and Meaning Mountains, uh, is it's, I mean, the official name is the phonological route, right? Carolyn Strom 00:15:13 Um, it's going on the dorsal pathway in the brain, which is, uh, sort of what is known as like the “where pathway”. Uh, the, the pathway that recognizes like size and shape and things in space does that, you know, so it's a slower, it's a slower more analytical pathway. And it's, um, it can be frustrating to read with a kid who is using their phonological pathway, as we all know, right? Like, you go through and they're reading ba bat and they're reading like that. And that's just the way when you're using just the phonological pathway, or as I call it, like the slow route or the local route, um, yeah, it has to be slow like that. But the cool thing that happens is once that sort of, the word travels that way, right? The letters turn to sounds, and the sounds turn into meanings, uh, Meaning Mountains gets excited, right? Carolyn Strom 00:15:58 As I tell the kids and, and starts firing neurons off being like, I know what a bat is. Oh my gosh, I actually do know this word. I can connect the printed word to my spoken language. I did it. I get it. I know what that word is. And it sends these like excited, uh, signals, uh, back to Vision Villages and is like, I saw you. I get you. I know what you are, right? You are a bat. And, and now the circuit begins to form, right? And, um, we've all heard, you know, uh, neurons that fire together, wire neurons that wire together fire together, right? Once you wire something together, anytime, fire wire, wire fire, right? This is what's going. The more they connect the, the stronger that bond is. Um, and that's what helps to build the, the reading circuit. I don't know if I've lost listeners. I have no idea. How is this, I mean, I, without an image, I have no idea if it's making any sense. Um, it's hard to, it's a whole new world. Kate Winn 00:16:50 I think this is great. So I'll just, I'll recap what I'm taking in as you go. Carolyn Strom 00:16:54 Cool. That would be so helpful for me too. Kate Winn 00:16:55 So the, we've got the phonological route. I'll go back to that part, the phonological route. So this visual input comes in, they've got the squiggles, whatever they're connecting. So Vision Villages are active, and then those messages go to Sound City, and then they're connecting it to the individual sounds. They have to be able to sound out those, um, sounds. They have to be able to blend them in order to get to an actual word that's going have some meaning. Perfect. Yep. And that's where the Meaning Mountains come into play. So it's kind of like, on the picture, it's almost like this little arc that you're going from Vision Villages, and then you're going through Sound City, you're going to Meaning Mountains. That's kind of the long, laborious route where we hear kids sounding out. That's the phonological route. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So let's stop right there for a second. Kate Winn 00:17:38 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, I do wanna ask you about brain plasticity. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you did mention it a little bit earlier, but I'm just wondering if you could just share what are sort of the optimal ages? I know you can learn to read at any age. Um, there's a wonderful book, “The Oldest Student” in the world, <laugh>, I mean, you can learn to read at any age. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. However, since we are most of us listening educators and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we want to do the best we can for our kids, what are the optimal ages for this brain plasticity? Carolyn Strom 00:18:02 So, I mean, no, you know, I mean, different people will probably give different answers, right? But we know that the most sensitive period for language acquisition is, you know, zero to six, zero to seven, zero to eight language acquisition in general. Um, and so really in terms of pre-literacy skills, right? And really focusing on, on, I shouldn't say pre-literacy because it's, it's all literacy, but focusing on, uh, building spoken language, really that birth to three is so critical and so key. And around three to seven age three to seven is really where we have so much potential to help kids map the sounds to letters, right? Some people would call that like learning the alphabet, right? And beginning to decode. Um, but really what we're, what we're helping kids do between three and seven is, is, is map those sounds that they hear in words, write two letters that sound simple correspondence. Carolyn Strom 00:18:55 You're starting that. Um, and you know, if you think of Ehri's phases, right? Those take you about to age around seven or eight. So when we think of beginning reading in the most sensitive period, and it's most sensitive period for language, uh, it's, it's really birth to eight. I I really, you know, for me, the, the core of early literacy instruction comes at about like three and a half to four, uh, to age six to seven, right? So I say like, prime time is four to seven, but it can be a little, you can start a little earlier and you can end a little later. Um, but really by seven or eight kids should be, they're not gonna be, um, advanced readers, but they should be relatively fluent, right? By seven or eight. And that means that they've built this circuit, that they're not just using the phonological route, that they have what's called the lexical route, right? That they've begun to establish that. Kate Winn 00:19:46 Yes. We're gonna get to talking a little bit more about that lexical route piece in a second. Um, another quick question I wanted to ask you is just about the squiggles. Um, one challenge as kids are dealing with, you know, taking in that input that I know you talk about is mirror in variance. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, could you just quickly tell us what you mean by that? Carolyn Strom 00:20:02 Yeah. So, well, so when we think about Vision Villages, right? And what's, what is processing, uh, the areas of our brain that are processing symbols, we're, we're repurposing an area that's usually used, uh, for faces and objects, right? And I should have mentioned that earlier when I was talking about Vision Villages. Um, when we talk about not being wired to read, right? We have these vision neurons that, um, are able to identify easily faces and objects, right? It doesn't take us very long to identify a face, right? We're kinda wired for faces and objects, um, and to identify faces and objects. Uh, we have a property of our vision system called mirror invariance. So we see a face, whether it's facing left or right, regardless of the orientation, we still see it as the same person, the same face, right? An object if it's facing to the…oriented to the left, or oriented to the right, it's still the same object. Carolyn Strom 00:20:49 Um, and that's a property of our vision system. Um, and so with letters, however, uh, the, the orientation actually matters, right? If you flip around a b and you flip around a d, they, they actually mean, they, they have a different sound, right? Um, and if you flip around a p and a q, they have a different sound. If you flip up and down a lowercase n or an or lowercase u, they, they mean something different, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so in order to read, we have to begin to see, uh, these mirror images, uh, as different, um, it's so crazy to us if we can read, right? So we're like, how could you not see that? I know I'm my daughter, uh, whose name starts with a L or a /l/. Um, she really sees, uh, the capital L whether it's facing right or facing left, um, not so much anymore, but when, when she was three, she, she really could not see the difference, right? Carolyn Strom 00:21:36 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, she just really saw them as mirror images because she was still overcoming, uh, mirror invariance. So I guess the simple answer would be, you know, we're applying, uh, a, a property of our primate vision system, this mirror invariance, uh, when we see letters or symbols, and we have to unlearn it, um, in order, in order to read. But that is why we see kids, uh, writing with reversals or seeing letters and saying the, uh, the sound of the reverse letter, um, because they're still, they're processing it as the same. Um, they haven't developed alphabetized. They have, their brain hasn't become alphabetized in a, in some ways, which is seeing the difference. Yeah. Kate Winn 00:22:13 I know as a kindergarten teacher, sometimes I'll see a child and they might have a long name, and they can start on the right hand side of the page and they can just go the opposite direction, and it's just a perfect mirror image of what their name should be. And I just- Carolyn Strom 00:22:24 Amazing thing Kate Winn 00:22:25 It almost seems like that's a talent, like, to think about how to write, you know, my full name backwards like that. Um, but just the fact that they do it and they think that that looks right. Yes. Carolyn Strom 00:22:35 It's a talent. Kate Winn 00:22:36 They're still working on that. Before we get to that automaticity piece, and I wanna get you to talk about the lexile route again mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, I just wanna share a funny little story that, so as I mentioned, I teach kindergarten and we are buddies with the grade seven eight class. Carolyn Strom Nice. Kate Winn So I decided this year I wanted to start teaching the seven eights about some of this brain science stuff. Carolyn Strom Cool. Kate Winn And so we taught, we used one of your pictures and we talked about, you know, rewiring the brain. And I've also taught them about like, dialogic reading, like a bunch of different things that I thought would help them. They've learned some phonics that of course, they never learned because we weren't doing structured literacy when they were that age. Um, so anyway, which is kind of fun. But one of my friends has a son in that class, and she was listening to Emily Hanford’s Sold a Story podcast one day, and he came in the room and he said, oh, what are you listening to? And, and she said, oh, it's, you know, this reporter talking about how, you know, we used to believe that learning to read was natural. And the kids said, I know, I know, but now we know we have to rewire the brain. Mrs. Winn told us. Carolyn Strom 00:23:26 Oh, that's great. Kate Winn 00:23:28 I'm so glad that, that he remembered that. But okay. So- Carolyn Strom 00:23:32 It can be very empowering for kids, right? Especially for kids who are struggling. It can be very, very empowering. There's nothing wrong with me. Right. My brain actually has to work really, really hard in order to do this miraculous thing called reading. It's amazing. Yeah, Kate Winn 00:23:45 For sure. So I wanna talk about your principle number three, learning to read depends in part on our brain's capacity for automaticity. And you talk about thrill and skill over drill and kill mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So if I understand correctly, when a word has gone through the phonological route, many times something else begins to happen that kind of speeds up the process or makes it more efficient, which is the lexical route. So could you just speak to that again a bit? Carolyn Strom 00:24:10 Yeah. So basically, um, once, and this is true really with many skills, right? Like once you do something a lot, and you do it in the slow way, right? Which is on that phonological route, um, that you create these memory traces in the brain, right? Uh, and so that's what we spent by, um, neurons that fire together, wire together, right? And so it, you is stimuli can be processed more quick, more quickly, right? Um, and so when, when people talk about the two routes in, in the brain, what begins to happen is you begin to use a lexical route, uh, which is very fast, which can process words and their meanings. Um, and like in milliseconds, right? A quarter of a second. Um, and the, the tricky thing, I don't want anyone to think that the lexical route and the phonological route are completely separate. Carolyn Strom 00:24:56 It's not like your word, a word is processed either on the lexical route or either on the phonological route, right? Uh, what happens is once you've developed the lexical route and this faster access point to spoken language, um, then when you see a word, it's become orthographically mapped, right? It has one neural representation. And what that really means is that the sight of the word instantly triggers both the pronunciation and the meaning, right? Which means, like, in simple terms, like both routes are working at the same time. Um, if that makes sense, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So once you're seeing a word on the lexical route, it's not like you're just instantly seeing it and translating it to meaning, although it does feel like that. But what we can see in the brain is that you're actually also processing it sound, um, without - Kate Winn 00:25:41 Having to laboriously sound it out. Carolyn Strom 00:25:43 Yes. Yeah. Perfect. Yes. You're, you're actually processing its sound without having to laboriously sound it out. It's just part of the memory trace of the word. Um, yeah. So, and you know, you're developing this lexical route over many, many years, right? It's, it, it's many years, and it's, it's powered by the letter box. Um, so in, in, uh, Stanislas Dehaene's work, who's the prominent neuroscientist on science of reading, right? He talks a lot about the letter box or the visual word form area, which is a, an area that begins to specialize for letter strings, right? And that is really the hallmark of a reading brain. So the letter box is an area in, in Vision Villages, and it's kind kind of like a portal that, uh, beams, beams a word into the spoken language areas, uh, immediately, right? Um, and we see that in skilled readers, they have this area, the letterbox, which is basically like, uh, clusters of neurons that are specialized, uh, for letter order and, and features, and can instantly, uh, trans translate those into, into meaning. Um, and the letterbox is a big part of developing, uh, the lexical route. Kate Winn 00:26:52 And I'm glad you mentioned orthographic mapping, 'cause that's something I was going to ask about. 'cause I think a lot of us who have, you know, started our journey learning about the science of reading. We do know this term orthographic mapping, that we've got the sound and the, the letters and the meaning all mapped together in the brain. Yeah. For, for words. Um, I wanted to ask you, so we've also heard or learned about the fact that setting the brain up properly to read the, for a successful reader, it should be the same in, in every kid's brain. It's not like different kids learn differently or the the wiring gets set up differently or anything like that. But my understanding is one area that can be different is how many of those practices it takes for a word to be instantly recognized or, or mapped or be able to go through the lexical route. Is that something that connects to dyslexia or learning disabilities, you know, needing more repetitions, more practice in order to get those words mapped? Carolyn Strom 00:27:41 Yeah. So one, I'd say yes, like there's no debate, right? All kids learn to read in the brain. All kids' brains learn to read in the same way, right? It might, it, you know. So, uh, however, we do know there are some differences, uh, depending on the orthographic system. Just wanna say that, right? But we generally know, uh, that the same area, the letterbox appears across children across the world, it's all brains are wired to read in the same way. Um, but two things. One, yes, I mean, there's no, there's no exact number, right? That like, dyslexic kids need 40 repetitions, and other kids need two repetitions. I mean, I don't know of a study that has actually, uh, really, really heavily documented that I think there's a, a statistic out there like, oh, for some kids it takes one to four times for some four to 10 times for some 40 times. Carolyn Strom 00:28:29 Um, but it, it really can vary on so many factors, right? It's not like, oh, we've showed it to them five times and now they don't know it. That means they've gone into this other category. You know? I mean, but in general, I think the idea is that some kids need very few exposures, right? And then some kids need a lot more exposure, a lot more practice, a lot more writing the words, more dictation, right? More drilling, more fun games with these skills. They just need a lot more practice. Um, but the thing with, uh, kids who struggle with a kind of dyslexia, uh, that's like a phonological deficit dyslexia, really means that they're having trouble in, in my model, what's called Sound City, right? In other models what's called the phonological processor. Uh, and, uh, if you're talking about the actual brain anatomy, uh, it's actually, uh, an area called the angular gyrus and the supramarginal gyrus, uh, that are having difficulty kind of connecting, um, the occipital lobe and, uh, sort of the areas for so spoken language, right? Carolyn Strom 00:29:29 So it's those areas that aren't as strong in kids, um, who has, who have phonological weaknesses, um, for their dyslexia as part of their dyslexia. Um, and so what does that mean? That means we need extra strengthening, right? For those areas. That's why the phonemic awareness is so important. That's why, uh, symbol recognition is so important. And building those mappings are so important. 'cause those areas of the brain for some kids, um, are just not as strong where that, uh, transfer, right, that conversion has to occur where we have to convert symbols into sounds and then bring sounds together to create meanings. Uh, that's the task of this reading circuit. And that, that those areas can be weaker in some kids. Kate Winn 00:30:07 I'm glad you mentioned writing in there as a, as a practice activity too, to work on that, because we talked so much about reading and, and not as much about writing. And I do have a question about writing, um, that I wanna ask in a little bit. But I also wanted to ask, does this whole process, these routes, does, do they work the same for those words that we might call irregular words, or, you know, temporarily irregular, I'm thinking of in kindergarten, like the word said mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So my kids can sound out the /s/, and they can sound at the /d/ the ai is not going to sound any way that they have learned in kindergarten. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But I do still teach them this word, and I use the heart word method, and, you know, because they're going to see it in text and they need to still know it mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But if they can't actually sound everything out, and there is a, maybe like a little part that does require a bit of memorization or a bit of remembering, does that still follow the same work with the same roots in the brain? Yeah. Carolyn Strom 00:30:52 I mean, the idea is that even with a word like said, SS a i d as as your kids are doing, right, they're mapping the S to a and they can map the D to a duh, right? But the way your brain mo, uh, learns best is that if they're also mapping the AI to the /e/ sound, even though AI usually says “a” right, but your brain, it wants to make a sound map, because that's how the system works, right? So even with irregular words, quote unquote irregular words, right? It, they're not that irregular, right? Uh, AI sometimes does say, eh, right? Like in, again, a G A I N mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we see that AI saying, eh, again, right? That's a pattern. And so since we have a pattern seeking brain, right? We want kids to recognize, uh, these letters as patterns, right? Mm-hmm. Carolyn Strom 00:31:39 <affirmative> as, as, as patterns they can rely on. Unfortunately, in irregular words, they, they write, they're inconsistent, but we still wanna emphasize them as, as patterns and as adjacent, uh, letters that work together. Um, so yes, I would, I mean, this all follows in line, right? With what? The heart, the heart, heart, word, method, or the heart. Mm-hmm. Or finding the heart part that either is tricky or that yes, for a while you have to memorize. But I, I, I still think we should stay away from, um, the word memorize, right? Because ultimately we're not memorizing, we're mapping, right? We, we are mapping, um, all the letters either map to sounds or they're si they, they serve a silent function or, or a signaling function. Um, so it's, it's really the way we learn to read, the way we build the reading circuit is a mapping process, not, uh, a memorizing process. Um, and it's great with, when you begin to focus on tricky parts, right? Or hard parts, um, or in my work, we use highlight the tricky to make it sticky, right? And we highlight those parts, um, what those all focus kids on, what they should be focusing on, which is the way that letters map to sounds or the way they break rules or the way that they're inconsistent Kate Winn 00:32:46 And what is happening in the three cities if kids start out with that whole idea of memorizing whole words as visual units, like sort of that what we used to call sight words - Carolyn Strom 00:32:57 Right? Right. Whole word reading. Yeah. Right? Kate Winn 00:33:00 Yeah. What's happening in the brain there, and why is that not sustainable? Carolyn Strom 00:33:03 Well, so what's interesting is like, I think there's a statistic like you, you can actually memorize right? At something like a thousand to 2000 words. Um, and that's how kids compensate, right? Who don't get, uh, instruction and letters and sounds and working on at that level, structured literacy. Um, and so you can, you can quote unquote get by right until you're seven or eight, because sometimes the, the, the words in, in books are have kind of, like, if you think about Dr. Seuss, it's still the same kind of same a hundred, 200, 300, 400 words. So theoretically you could memorize up to a certain point, but then when the texts get a little more difficult, you're not gonna have any of the tools, right? So it begins to break down in, the US which is like second or third or third grade. And it's certainly by fourth grade, right? Carolyn Strom 00:33:46 If kids have just memorized those words. Um, so, you know, I I call it shortcircuiting the brain, right? You can, it works for a little bit, but it's gonna, it's gonna sputter out. Um, and the main methods that those kids have used, right, is just looking at how the word generally looks as a whole, which is not, again, it's not, the word doesn't represent a whole. It's parts are what the parts and the letters and sounds are what give it meaning. Um, so, but kids are starting to, to look at whole words. So they begin to con, they might con begin to confuse words like grill and girl, right? Uh, and circus and curious, these words that begin and end the same. And they begin to, I know we've all heard that when you're working with older kids who just mumble through lookalike words and multi-syllabic words, right? So, whereas they may be able to know one syllable words, 'cause they've memorized a lot of them, um, when they get to multi-syllabic words, they, they don't have the tools, right? They ha they don't have the, they, they, they haven't learned the nuanced patterns, uh, that they can apply to these multi-syllabic words and words that look alike. Kate Winn 00:34:48 And I think that's where some of us, as you know, kindergarten educators or even, you know, grade one, first grade, um, you can think, oh, but this is working. Like, what, what's wrong with what we're doing? It's working because look, he's reading and she's reading and, and they're not actually reading in the way that we want the brain <laugh> circuitry to be working, right? And so, we don't know. And the same thing with, you know, we talk about the three cueing and things like that. We might think it's working when we're, there's a picture right there, and they can guess which zoo animal it is for every picture, because that's right there mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But then by, by third graders, even second grade, the pictures are gone, and those teachers are then tearing out their hair thinking, what's going on here? So that's important to know. You have a couple of other landmarks - Carolyn Strom 00:35:23 And you know what I wanna point out too, sorry to interrupt, but I just wanna point out too, like, it's so frustrating because every time that you see a word that you, you know, don't recognize, right? Is an opportunity to learn something new, right? So if you see the word chair and you don't instantly recognize it, right? You should have another strategy, then just look at the picture. Oh, there's a chair. That must be the word chair. That is not how your brain is gonna learn to read chair, right? Your brain is not attaching that picture to those five letters. That's just not, it's not how it's gonna go. The only way that you'll recognize chair is if someone helps you say that this is a C and an H, and they say, ch, it's great if you can infer it's a chair, because there's a picture there, right? Carolyn Strom 00:36:04 But you should be able to, to have the tools to read chair, not only for chair's sake, okay? Because soon you're gonna come to the word chop, right? Or you're gonna come to the word much, or you're gonna come to the word such, or you're gonna come to the word check. And now if you had learned, someone had told you that ch says, ch, you'd be able to now practice this. But if you haven't taken, had that instruction to take chair apart into that digraph, right? Then now you're gonna be coming to chop and rich and check, and you, you can't apply anything from your chair experience with chair. Does that make sense? That's, that's the part that really kills me about, about just using pictures, is that every time we see something new, a new word, that's an opportunity to teach kids about these letters and sounds, and then they can use it later. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So every time we don't do it, we're, we're, we're like losing opportunities for them to practice this skill in future words. Kate Winn 00:37:02 Yeah. And I mean, and I will totally admit, like back when I started in kindergarten, before I learned anything about any of this science, I actually believed, I thought it was scientific, that if they saw the word chair, like, you know, like here is at, and then, you know, a piece of furniture on every page or whatever here is at chair mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I thought, okay, they're looking at that word and now they're saying chair something magical must be happening in their brain. I, I, I believed that. Right? Carolyn Strom 00:37:27 No, that makes sense. So like, oh, the letter string just somehow is linked to meaning. Kate Winn 00:37:32 Yeah. Like better than nothing, right? Like it's, at least they're gonna say the word, you know? Anyway, so I'm glad that I know better now and that you're, uh, you're - Carolyn Strom 00:37:41 Helpful. Yes. Yes. And you know, I think a lot of people think that, we all think that because that's how it feels to us. That is truly how, like when we look at the word chair, we are processing the meaning of the word chair faster than the letters, right? That's true. Right? 'cause we have this lexical route and this letterbox and this really robust reading circuit. But when you're learning to read, that's not how it goes, right? It's so, it's, it's confusing 'cause that it does feel how it feels to us. We just instantly know it. So, so readers should just instantly know it. But it, there's difference between being a novice and an expert reader. And if you're an expert reader and a fluent reader and reading, you know, more than a hundred, 120 words per minute out loud, then it does, it may feel to you like you're just instantly recognizing it. Carolyn Strom 00:38:22 Uh, rather, but we know that you're also processing, uh, the letters, right? And the letter sounds, you're just doing it subconsciously, unconsciously, right? It's, it's become an unconscious process. And, um, but it doesn't start that way, right? It starts as a conscious process and it has to move to the, or a conscious experience, actually. It's a conscious experience of, of sounding out a word and linking it to meaning, and it has to become unconscious. That's what I think is pretty remarkable, um, that it, it really goes from so analytic to so automatic, right? I mean, we take that for granted in like riding a bike or swimming, or even becoming, you know, a, a virtuoso, violin virtuoso. Um, these things that start off really slow and difficult and then like exponentially get so fast and automatic. And the same thing with reading, you know, but we take it, we take it for granted, and we're not marveled as much as we're marveled by these feats of expertise in these, in these other areas, these other skills that become automatic, right? Carolyn Strom 00:39:17 Going from so difficult. I mean, when I start working with kids who are having such difficulty, that's what I tell them. I go, I know. It's so hard to imagine that this thing that is so hard right now and so painful, you're gonna do it like the way that you breathe. You're not even gonna be thinking about it. And, and they just are like, what? I'm like, I know it sounds crazy and it's gonna take a lot of work, but I promise you, like, that is what it means to really learn to read. This stuff will not be effortful anymore for you. It'll be, it'll, it'll feel natural, but it's not natural. Kate Winn 00:39:46 No. And it's amazing as a teacher, when you start to start to see that coming, um, I wanna ask about, you have a couple of other little landmarks on your model as well. So I know attention antennae is one which, um, it's really important that you're acknowledging the, you know, the importance of attention in all of this. The one I wanna ask you about is Motor Metro. So we know that, you know, motor connects to speech obviously for one thing. But what I wanna ask you about is the importance in all of this process on handwriting, you know, like letter formation and writing by hand. Um, you know, any research that you could share, what the science tells us about the importance of that. And one of the reasons I ask is because I'm an Ontario, we have a brand new language curriculum being rolled out this fall, and they have put an emphasis back in on teaching letter formation, handwriting, and then even in grade three, specifically stating, you know, cursive writing, being instructed in grade three and up. Um, they were kind of mentioned vaguely in our prior curriculum, but now they're kind of front and center again. So is this a good idea? What do we know about that? Carolyn Strom 00:40:46 Yeah, so from, I guess from the neuroscience perspective, I really would highlight the work of, um, Karin James, her first name is k a r i n, last name James. Um, and she really has focused on handwriting, uh, development in the brain, uh, with young children and, you know, and, and so have many other people. That's the, that's the, that's the main researcher right now that comes to mind. Um, and what we've really found is that as kids learn the gestures, right, as kids learn to make the gestures of letters and to form letters by hand, uh, they activate the reading circuit, right? And so what does that mean? That means that as kids tune into sort of, uh, their fine motor skills and, and designing, as I say, designing or building, right? Or structuring these letters by hand, uh, your, your brain is sort of, you know, the, the motor areas of your brain are helping to connect, uh, the areas that are processing vision and sound, right? Carolyn Strom 00:41:38 Which is why not only handwriting important, but experimental spelling right, or early spelling, estimated spelling right is so important because you want kids to be able to hear, wanna write a word, and then break it down into its sounds and know how to form it so they can actually write it themselves, right? And so, um, there's a ton of neuroscience, uh, that supports this, right? A lot of it, it does come down to sort of how motor is connected to everything in our brain, right? And the more that we engage our bodies, uh, and the more that we use our hands, right? We're gonna connect to the reading circuit. Um, but again, I, I look at the work of Karin James, who's done a lot of, uh, work on sort of how, uh, teaching kids to write words as opposed to type or trace, uh, teaching 'em to actually form the words and make the gestures in the words, um, activates the same areas that are activated, uh, in the reading circuit. So activates Sound City, and meaning Sound City and Vision Villages specifically in, in, in the model I developed, it sends signals, right? Like the whole point is building this circuit and, and a circuit gets built by signals going between areas, right? And so engaging, you know, motor metro or the handwriting hub, right? And engaging that area of our brain, uh, build like, sends more signals and builds this circuit more. It can help, help build the circuit. Kate Winn 00:42:55 Okay. Um, my next question's kind of a two-parter. So how important do you think it is that classroom practitioners, I mean, if there are teachers, educators listening, how important is it, do you think, for them to know about this stuff that, that you have shared today? And, and why do you think it's kind of been disconnected from, from classroom practice? It's kind of a two-parter there. Carolyn Strom 00:43:12 Yeah, it is a two-parter there. So, uh, I think why it's been disconnected, um, is that a lot of times, uh, you know, people who are choosing to be neuroscientists and scientists and, and write in journals and do certain controlled studies, right? Those are not the same people who are becoming teachers. K 12 teachers or public school teachers or preschool teachers, right? It's a, they're two very, very different fields. Um, so when the neuroscience, or just any basic science is written, it's not always written, uh, for practitioners in mind, right? It's not, it's, it, it, it's very interesting and it may be very compelling, but it may be not actionable for teachers, right? Because that's not necessarily their audience. If your audience is, is other scientists, um, or researchers. Uh, and so I think that's a huge part of the disconnect, that they're two very different fields, right? Carolyn Strom 00:44:05 And so I think that's why this third field has emerged called implementation science, right? Mm-hmm. Or translational science, or how do we take right, what we know from the basic sciences and make it applicable and actionable and accessible in, in the real world, right? What are the implications? So that's why they're so disconnected. I I just think they're, they're such different fields, if that makes sense. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right? Like what's applicable to K 12 teachers is not always what's most interesting or applicable to scientists, right? Um, but then your second question, oh, is it important? And I was just having a conversation about this with someone, uh, the other day who, who was saying, you know, uh, what is practical pedagogically about learning about the brain? Why is that practical? Right? How is that, how is that practical for teachers? You can be a good teacher without, you know, really understanding the brain and Sure, definitely. Carolyn Strom 00:44:56 Right? You can definitely be a very strong teacher, um, without understanding I guess the inner mechanics. But for any profession, I think we wanna understand the organ that is most responsible for it, right? So if my job as a teacher is to help kids learn, right? In this case, learn how to read, it's very important, I think, to understand the biomechanics of that learning, right? And the main organ that's responsible for our reading is our brain, right? So we should kind of understand what we mean when we say, oh, we're not wired to read, and what does it mean to wire it? What areas are being connected to me, it seems like, and you know, that having that is just kind of a basic, um, understanding of, of, of what, of what you're trying to accomplish, right? And I mean, for me, I, I taught phonics, I taught structured literacy for a long time, and then a mother asked me of one of the, my students asked me, you know, I see their brain working so hard, I see them working so hard, right? Carolyn Strom 00:45:50 What is going on in their brain as they're learning to read? And even after a master's degree and tons of professional development and years of teaching kids to read with structured literacy, I, I did not, I still did not understand what was going on in these kids' brains, right? And that, to me felt like, uh, professional knowledge I should have, right? And it's not a part of general, uh, your professional preparation. So why do you need it? I think why I say to myself, like, why do dentists need to know how a tooth grows or the composition of a tooth? Do we want them just to know how to do a filling, or do we want them to really understand like what is developing and what they're trying to, you know, what the goal state is? Do we want like a physical therapist to just know some strategies as opposed to really understanding anatomy? Carolyn Strom 00:46:37 Right? If you go see a therapist, a psychologist, do you want them to give you strategies or, and all, but maybe, but you also want them to help you understand how things maybe work in the field of emotions and the brain. Um, and, and I, I've seen, I've seen it with, with, with teachers as well. It's just kind of professional knowledge that I think enhances our ability to help our students, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, the more you know about the capacities you're trying to grow in a child, the more you understand the developmental process, right? The better you can respond to their errors. Um, we know that even if you have all the best strategies in the world and you've been trained in, you know, a structured literacy, there are gonna be kids that show, uh, other behaviors and that take twists and turns. Um, and so we need to have sort of our own professional insights knowing like, okay, what is breaking down in the process? Carolyn Strom 00:47:27 How can I help this kid who's struggling if I, I don't really understand the process as a whole, or if I don't understand the areas of the brain that need to connect, how can I help them with their confusion or with their breakdown? Um, so that was a lot in there, but you know, that's, you know, it's, to me, it, it's, it's professional knowledge that we all deserve. In the same way that when you're a parent, you wanna really understand what's going on, right? With your kids' development, you wanna know when they're gonna hit certain milestones. Um, you wanna know when they're gonna be saying one words or two words or sentences, right? And in the same way with reading, if, you know, we want to know sort of the milestones and the progression in order, in order to better do our jobs. Um, and, and I do think that's really practical knowledge. Carolyn Strom 00:48:11 Um, you know, a short answer to that is like, are we trying to build capacity in teachers or are we trying to build compliance? And if we just focus on proven strategies, right? Which are so important and teachers need strategies and tools and curriculum and slides and all the materials, right? They do not need to be creating materials. They need strategies and, and materials that they can use in the classroom that are vetted and, and evidence-based. Um, but they also, it's not just about compliance with those, right? It's also about being critical and building your own capacities and, and choosing and using curriculum in the moment and thinking through student errors and all of those things, which I don't know how you would do that, uh, so much if you don't have a deeper, under a deeper understanding of like the biomechanics of, of how a kid, uh, learns to read. Kate Winn 00:48:58 I think it's funny you mentioned having a recent conversation. I'm not sure if it was a Twitter conversation you were talking about or not, but I did see a tweet that someone tweeted and I thought, oh, I bet Carolyn's gonna weigh in on this one. And then I saw that you, that you had replied. Yeah. But I do, I see the importance too, though, and how you mentioned the idea of, um, capacity over compliance. Because I feel like as a teacher, if someone handed me a UFLI manual and told me exactly how to use it and to do this phonics and this phonemic awareness with my kids, which I'm doing, um, I think I could be successful, but I feel like there is another layer to it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> when I know I've got these three and four year olds coming in and I'm building their phonological route and they're, you know, like, I don't think you need to do like an exam on, you know, the scientific anatomy, you know, labels and that, that sort of thing. But I think the kind of thing that you've shared in this podcast episode, I do think can really enhance teacher knowledge and, and therefore their practice, which is going to have a positive impact on the kids. Carolyn Strom 00:49:52 Yeah. And you know, this might be controversial, but I just, you know, I think that the neuroanatomy and knowing the official names, if, if, if you're into that stuff right, and you wanna know, that's great, right? 'cause it is very, very interesting. Um, but I think concept, the conceptual idea is the most important, right? That we have these three areas of the brain that we need to wire together, right? And it doesn't, our brains don't come that way. And we have to build this circuit primarily through these three areas of the brain, right? And there it's really helped by, in involving motor skills, which I call the Handwriting Hub, you know, and focusing attention and Attention Antennae. But that's like the basic idea. Um, and you know, I, it's a very, uh, oversimplified version of the neuroscience. Um, but I think it can just… having that framework is something that is missing, um, for, for many educators and parents. Carolyn Strom 00:50:43 So a lot of my work is, is with families and kind of explaining like, no, your child doesn't learn to memorize this word, right? They, they learn to map these three areas, and that is very empowering to families. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right? And it can be very empowering to kids. So when I hear people say something like, oh, show me a study that shows that, like, teachers who learned about the brain saw higher student achievement than teachers who didn't learn about the brain. How does learning about the how the brain learns to read correlate with student achievement? Right. I think first of all, there's so many variables, right? There's so many variables. So I, I, I don't even know how someone would control all of that in that study, but there are some people that have tried to do it, I think, right? But the bottom line is, do you want your child to have a teacher who understands how to teach your child to read, who understands how learning to read happens? Carolyn Strom 00:51:34 Don't you want them to have a deeper understanding rather than just, I'm gonna do some of these strategies and it's gonna magically happen. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right? It like, we wanna, we wanna have a deeper understanding. And I think that's kind of how we got into this, uh, quagmire that we're in worldwide where there are methods being used to teach kids, right? That don't follow what we know about how the brain learns to read. How did that happen? How did, well, we didn't, many educators didn't know any better because we actually didn't know how reading happened. We were just taught what to teach. Right? Not why or how it happens. Um, and so that's kind of my, my thought on, on that. Although I do appreciate that we all wanna see evidence for everything. I think evidence is super, super important, right? But when it comes to like, do we want teachers to know how the organ of learning, how the brain learns to read, basically. Yeah. I think that's pretty, I think that's important and I think other people think it's important. Kate Winn 00:52:24 Yeah. And you used the word empowering and I feel like that that really does sum it up. Um, so thank you for empowering us with all of this information today. Before I let you go, I do wanna ask, is there anything you want our listeners to know about what you're working on these days, where they can find you anywhere to direct them? Carolyn Strom 00:52:41 Yeah. I have a newsletter, um, that, that does not come out that often. Um, but it does come out, um, and, uh, I am sort of in the middle of, um, taking this brain model, um, and turning it into a video and a, and a booklet, uh, that will be available, uh, through my website and through my newsletter. Um, and so that's kind of something I'm right in the middle of. Um, 'cause I've gotten a lot of requests, uh, for people that wanna use some of the imagery, uh, with, with families or with schools. Um, and so I'm in the middle of creating that. The only way to sort of stay on top of that would be to sign up for my newsletter. Um, and you can stay posted on that. And that's just on my website, carolyn strom.com. Um, and in terms of, um, and there's a poster of, of these images, uh, one image on my website. Um, but that will be taken down soon, um, and replaced with a series of images. Um, and then in terms of where I'm speaking, uh, I'll be speaking, uh, a couple places in the next I'll be speaking at the IDA Rocky Mountain um, Dyslexia Conference. Um, and, uh, a couple others this fall that also, that information is, um, on my newsletter or at my website. Kate Winn 00:53:49 Wonderful. So, Dr. Carolyn Strom, thank you so much for being with us, sharing your tale of three cities so that we have a better understanding of the reading brain and we can then teach our students even better. So thank you for being here with us. Carolyn Strom 00:54:02 Thank you. Kate Winn 00:54:06 Show notes for this episode with all the links and information you need, including that great image of the Three Cities can be found at podcast.idaontario.com. And you have been listening to episode eight with Dr. Carolyn Strom. Now it is time for that typical end of the podcast call to action. If you enjoyed this episode of Reading Road Trip, we'd love it if you could rate and or review it in your podcast app as this is extremely helpful for a new podcast. And of course, we welcome any social media, love you feel inspired to spread as well. Feel free to tag IDA Ontario and me. My handle is thismomloves on Twitter and Facebook and katethismomloves on Instagram. Make sure you're following the Reading Road Trip podcast in your app and watch for new episodes continuing every Monday throughout the summer. We couldn't bring Reading Roadtrip to you without Behind the scenes support from Katelyn Hannah, Brittany Haynes and Melinda Jones at IDA Ontario. I'm Kate Winn, and along with my co-producer, Una Malcolm, we hope this episode of Reading Roadtrip has made your path to evidence-based literacy instruction just a little bit clearer and a lot more fun. Join us next time when we bring another fabulous guest along for the ride on Reading Road Trip.

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