Brain-Based Learning

This is a really interesting article that talks about things you can do to potentially help your children gain more strength in weaker subject areas. Let’s practice using BOTH sides of our brains! Parents, adults – these suggestions can be fun to do right alongside the kids!

-Mrs. Green

A Brain-based Learning Strategy that Works:

10 Ways to Improve Reading, Writing, and Just about Anything Else

(for kids and for you too)

by Dr. MaryJo Wagner

Summary: Discover different ways to cross the midline and why this is important for reading comprehension, handwriting, and even as a test taking strategy.

For those of us old enough to have grandkids, we were taught in one way. And certainly not in a way that took into account what we know today about brain-based learning or using the whole brain.

Teachers emphasized rote memorization and copying. Later listening to lectures and taking notes. Some of us did pretty well with that method. Especially those of us who are left-brain dominant. We even went on to college.

Others, often very smart children, didn’t do so well. Their brains simply worked in a different way. Maybe they were right-brain dominant. Maybe they learned more efficiently using kinesthetic skills.

Researchers have recently discovered that whole-brain learning or brain-based learning is not only a more efficient way of learning but helps more kids learn.

One the many features of brain-based learning involves using both the right side and the left side of the brain. Although none of our kids is just left brain or just right brain, most of them have a dominance. Few of us use both sides of our brain equally.

For example, if Susie’s really good in math, she’s probably left-brain dominant. Or maybe Johnny’s an artist extraordinaire. He’s probably right-brain dominant. Nothing wrong with Susie or Johnny’s brain dominance, but wouldn’t it be great if Johnny did better in math? Or Susie was able to develop some artistic skills?

These kids will benefit from brain-based learning. They’ll improve in those skills they were lacking. They’ll be able to use both sides of the brain.

Learning to read and write requires using both sides of the brain. In fact learning just about anything well, thinking clearly, and even problem solving involves using the right and left hemispheres of the front part of the brain.

How do you accomplish this? Easy? Just move across the center mid-line of your body. Every time you move your right arm to your left side or your left arm to your right side, you’re crossing the mid-line and improving learning, thinking, and problem solving. And you’re demonstrating brain-based learning.

Works for you. Works for kids.

  1. Give yourself a big hug.
  2. If you’re right handed, put the phone on the left side of your desk. Use your right hand to reach for it.
  3. Dance the hula. Or play with a hula hoop.
  4. Take a Brain Boosters TeleChat. Check it out at Or a Brain Gym class.
  5. Learn square dancing. (Actually most dancing crosses the mid-line. The best of all is doing the Twist—O.K, if you weren’t around in the 1950s, you’ll have to ask somebody to show you how.)
  6. Rake some leaves, making sure you’re raking off to the side instead of straight in front of you.
  7. Play a board game. (Use your right hand to move your piece when it’s in the left corner; your left hand to move your piece when it’s in the right corner.)
  8. Practice using your non-dominant hand to reach for things on the opposite side of your body. Even writing and drawing with your non-dominant hand helps. (You’ll get better with practice.)
  9. Do Yoga and Tai Chi. Lots of moves cross the mid-line.
  10. Cross your ankles and arms in front or in back when you’re doing jumping jacks. Kids can usually do this. If you can’t, try it in the swimming pool. Just crossing your arms while doing jumping jacks is a start.

Brain-based learning really isn’t all that complicated. Lots of everyday kinds of activities get the whole brain active. Sitting around watching TV, however, isn’t one of them! You’ve go to move.

MaryJo Wagner, Ph.D.

The Learning Doctor

“Helping You Help Kids Learn”

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