Reading is Math?


Recently, I learned that the brain is more of a ‘pattern identifier’ and not so much a ‘rule follower’.  It made me think of how my daughters come home with math homework at the beginning of the year dealing with identifying patterns. This pattern identification work always seemed so simple, but now I see it for being a very valuable concept for kids to understand and then apply in other areas, namely reading!

Anytime I learn something new about how the human brain learns I immediately try to see how it occurs or occurred for me. The more I thought about identifying patterns while we read words the more I began to understand it.Many of us learned to read by sounding words out letter by letter. Then we were able to combine some letters together. The patterns come in when we began to identify common letter patterns like what the silent ‘e’ does to the vowel before it or the familiar endings of ‘ed’ or ‘ing’ (among many others).  Once we learned the pattern we could simply see these familiar letter patterns and call out words. The more we were exposed to print the more automatic we could be in identifying these familiar patterns. Hence, we get the message constantly from teachers today to read, read, and read some more WITH and TO your child!

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One thought on “Reading is Math?

  1. Yes, yes. You are reminding me about the rules that break the rules of spelling. Example “knife” or “know” “knowledge”. We do try to commit to memory, these “exceptions” to the rules, but because there are so many exceptions to the rules I wonder if pattern recognition comes in to play here as well. As soon as it looks familiar then we try the silent “k” and if it works then we record the data and use it to inform a choice in the future. Does anyone remember learning all of these “rules” and “exceptions to rules”? It was madness, yes? Good thing that supple young brain of mine was adapting along the way.

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