Typical Right-Brained Reading Traits

TIMEFRAME. The right-brained child is ready to BEGIN to learn to read between the ages of 8-10 years. This is when their brain is ready to shift from three-dimensional pictorial processing to include two-dimensional symbolic processing.

NOT DUMBED DOWN. The right-brained child enjoys reading “real” material of substance and/or with a substantive storyline. Graded readers, phonetic readers, or even sometimes Dr. Seuss type of material is not tolerated.

MEANINGFUL. The right-brained child wants to learn to read by reading. Learning with actual books or with programs that simulate this is best. Programs with a bunch of bells and whistles, separated out from real, meaningful stories, will be confusing and ineffective.

PICTORIAL. The right-brained child is focused on the pictorial before the ages of 8-10 years in order to build a library of pictorial images. The more they accumulate, the easier it will be for them to find a corresponding image that will be an appropriate translation during their reading process. This need to be surrounded by a visual world should be valued in order to equip this learner with their best tool to reading.

VISUALIZATION. The right-brained child develops important visualization skills tantamount to his ability to read by listening to read alouds or audio books. These learners think in pictures, so every word will be turned into a picture during the reading process. This ability to visualize will make or break comprehension and enjoyment of reading. Because of this trait, they are “skim readers” who glide across the top of words enough to “catch the visual”. This makes them better silent readers.

“HARD” BIG WORDS BEFORE “EASY” LITTLE WORDS. The right-brained child will be reading large, visual words before little, non-visual ones (particularly those Dolch words such as the, of, has, etc.). In fact, these little words will come in last, at the end of the pre-fluency stage of reading (around 9-11 years of age).

WHOLE TO PART. The right-brained child is a global, big picture person, so they see the whole before breaking down to parts. Therefore, a sight word based learning method is best on the front end, following during pre-fluency with some general phonics information.

WATCH, THEN DO. The right-brained child doesn’t like to fail, so they watch others doing what they want to do. Listening to read alouds, audio books, and hearing books re-read help them feel comfortable attempting the reading process.

CONTEXT. The right-brained child reads by context because everything is being translated to a picture. In the early stages of learning to read, they may skip a third of what they read because all they need is enough to “catch the visual”. Sometimes, you will note that they appear to “guess” at words, but it is because they are trying to read by context as well as knowledge. If their visualization skills are working and they are concentrating on comprehension and not semantics, these “mistakes” will correct themselves through context and practice.

PRE-FLUENCY. Between the time a right-brained child begins to read and becomes fluent is a “working out the kinks” time period that needs to be valued. The right-brained child will use pictorial resources to aid them in visualization so as to concentrate on the semantics. They will also read known or more simple material for the same reason. Asking them to read aloud during this time, or quizzing them, is not encouraged. If this time period and process is valued, they will emerge as fluent readers.