Brain sensitivity to print emerges when children learn letter-speech sound correspondences
Brem, S., Bach, S., Kucian, K., Kujala, J., Guttorm, T., Martin, E., . . . Richardson, U. (2010). Brain sensitivity to print emerges when children learn letter-speech sound correspondences. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107 (17), 7939-7944. doi:10.1073/pnas.0904402107 Retrieved from http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/04/14/0904402107.full.pdf+html
© the Authors & National Academy of Sciences, 2010.
The acquisition of reading skills is a major landmark process in a human’s cognitive development. On the neural level, a new functional network develops during this time, as children typically learn to associate the well-known sounds of their spoken language with unfamiliar characters in alphabetic languages and finally access the meaning of written words, allowing for later reading. A critical component of the mature reading network located in the left occipitotemporal cortex, termed the “visual word-form system” (VWFS), exhibits print-sensitive activation in readers. When and how the sensitivity of the VWFS to print comes about remains an open question. In this study, we demonstrate the initiation of occipito-temporal cortex sensitivity to print using functional MRI (fMRI) (n = 16) and event-related potentials (ERP) (n = 32) in a controlled, longitudinal training study. Print sensitivity of fast (<250 ms) processes in posterior occipito-temporal brain regions accompanied basic associative learning of letter–speech sound correspondences in young (mean age 6.4 ± 0.08 y) nonreading kindergarten children, as shown by concordant ERP and fMRI results. The occipito-temporal print sensitivity thus is established during the earliest phase of reading acquisition in childhood, suggesting that a crucial part of the later reading network first adopts a role in mapping print and sound. ...
PublisherNational Academy of Sciences