Department of Psychology pres.
Rebecca Marks, CPEP Graduate Student
Abstract: A universal marker of proficient reading is print-speech neural convergence, or the integration of visual and auditory language processing in the brain. How and when does this convergence emerge? What drives the development of the print-speech network, setting the stage for successful reading acquisition in young children?
In this talk, we will examine the relationship between spoken language proficiency and the emergence of print-speech convergence in beginning readers. fMRI neuroimaging of kindergarteners (ages 5-6) demonstrates that print-speech convergence is preceded and predicted by language proficiency, which in turn predicts reading ability one year later. These findings suggest that children’s language ability is a core mechanism guiding neural plasticity for learning to read. Results extend our understanding of brain development for literacy to the earliest stages of reading, and bridge theoretical perspectives across developmental psychology, education, and neuroscience.
Bio: Rebecca is a 4th year doctoral candidate in the Combined Program in Education and Psychology. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2013 with a degree in Philosophy, Neuroscience & Psychology. While there, she conducted research on language and social cognition in bilingual preschoolers. After graduating, she taught with Teach for America, where she saw her research interest in language development and bilingualism translated to the classroom context. She now works with Dr. Ioulia Kovelman, as well as Fumiko Hoeft (NOTE: PRONOUNCED HAY-FT) at the University of Connecticut, to understand language and literacy development in linguistically diverse youth.
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