Reading aloud helps build up the brain

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 November, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 November, 2005, 12:00am

READING ALOUD FLUENTLY in native or foreign languages and doing mathematical calculations quickly are extremely important for the development of the brain, according to a university study on human brains.


Ryuta Kawashima, of the Future Science and Technology Research Centre at Tohoku University, said the prefrontal cortex within the frontal lobe of the brain was the 'brain of the brain', as it functioned like the 'control tower'.


The prefrontal cortex is what helps people think, make decisions, communicate, restrain their actions and control memory.


Training the prefrontal cortex was key to developing the essential abilities needed to hold dreams and go on to realise them, said Dr Kawashima, who carries out research and analysis on when and how the brain works.


He said the crux lay in reading aloud fluently and doing calculations quickly.


The prefrontal cortex is also stimulated when children talk to their parents or play with their friends. All these factors point to the possibility that there are appropriate methods for training the brain when it is still in its developmental stage.


Everyone could train their brain by learning properly, Dr Kawashima said.


The brain is developing daily. Learning repeatedly and passing information among the brain's cells frequently keeps the brain active and the paths open, while building expressways that can go everywhere and in every direction. Once people build these expressways in the brain, they will never forget what they have learned.


Memorising is an important learning activity. According to the results of experiments done on brain activity during memorising, the prefrontal cortex is active in issuing the command to memorise. The brain has different places for storing memories, such as sentences and formulas, the shape and location of objects and people's faces and names. Therefore, various parts of the brain are activated when memorising different things.


To keep something in memory it must be memorised repeatedly, according to the study. A person can build an expressway from the command area to the memory pickup area where the memory is stored in the brain.


Using a combination of sounds is helpful for memorising. Reading aloud and writing things down will help people memorise. Producing words, making our eyes and ears work and moving the body activate the brain and help us to remember.