Brain, Hand and Mouth

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<H1 ALIGN="CENTER">"Brain, Hand and Mouth"</H1>
<B><FONT SIZE=4><P ALIGN="CENTER">By Jeremiah Cameron, Ph.D. (October 13, 2001)</P>

<P>This article would provide nothing new if it simply asserted that to read and to learn, children have to use their brains: Every schoolboy knows this. But what most teachers, who try to teach every schoolboy, do not know is that there is a special relation between the frontal and parietal lobes of the brain and the motor activities of hand and mouth involved in the reading process.</P>

<P>Before we discuss these relationships that go into the reading process, let us look again at the Microsoft representation of the brain which we saw in the <a href="01_10_01_ObstructionsToReading2.html">last article</a>:</P>

<table border=3><tr><td colspan=2>
<img src="images/CerebralCortex.gif"></td></tr>
<tr><td><img src="images/LeftHemi.gif"></td><td>
<b><font face="arial" size=2 color="red">
<li> Broca's Area
<li> Visual Cortex
<li> Wernicke's Area
<li> Motor Cortex
<li> Cerebral Cortex
<li> Auditory Cortex
<li> Angular Gyrus

<P>Observe that at the back of the frontal lobe and in front of the CENTRAL FISSURE is a strip called the MOTOR CORTEX, for all basic and skilled movements (such as the hand and the mouth). Stimuli will go from the MOTOR BAND to the cerebellum, at the base of the brain. It is BROCA'S AREA at the base of the area, which controls the hand and the mouth, that makes the spoken language, so basic to reading, possible. That spoken language, as we know consists of the sound structures that becomes words, phrases, clauses, idioms, etc. which children must perceive to read. Without BROCA'S AREA the mouth could form no speech sounds.</P>

<P>When Shakespeare went to school, children learned by using their hands to copy great and well-written Greek and Roman literature. And even in my school days, we copied and copied. It has never dawned upon educators who believe that they should use modern technology to make schooling "easy" for kids—to relieve them of the drudgery of writing and writing and writing—that the handwriting ingrains reading skills. Neurologists and linguists now believe that those grammatical and syntactical structures that must be perceived for us to read are related to handiness and to the left parietal lobe.</P>

<P>Most people are right handed, because of the motor band in the left hemisphere, which controls muscles in the neck-down-right-side of the body as the right hemisphere controls muscle activity in the left side of the body. As we use the right hand to write (and perhaps to create neural connections for the structures required for reading) we often gesture in doing so. These gestures communicate meanings also. And the hand picks up the time sequence, order and rhythms of written and spoken speech.</P>
<P> </P>
<P>To read well (and this must take place in the early years) children must use the mouth to produce he structures that are crudely reproduced on the printed page (the brain's BROCA'S AREA and PARIETAL LOBE at work). Teachers need to return to having children use their hands to write and copy and compose the structures that the eye sees. Using the mouth to say aloud poems and other great literature will do much to ingrain the structures that children will find in books. No wonder so many writers still write longhand rather than use a typewriter of computers.</P>
<P ALIGN="CENTER"><A HREF="JCameronArticles.html"><B>The Jeremiah Cameron Articles</B></A></P>