Researchers associated with Northwestern University have identified “biological” processes associated with the known reading disconnect experienced by students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia.  These same researchers attribute this disconnect to the way in which dyslexic brains “encode” information.

For years, primary theories regarding dyslexia have focused mostly on “decoding” of information.  The differences between encoding and decoding can be likened (in a very basic analogy) to similar computer functions.  “Encoding” involves the rearranging of information into another form or code that makes it useful in a different way or can be accessed later–therefore in very basic terms, it’s the creation of a coded file.  “Decoding” involves taking a file apart and restoring individual components to their original or basic state so it can be better understood.

This is especially exciting when you consider the researcher’s findings about sounds, brain waves, and word connections.  They found that turning sound (even “virtual hearing” when the brain attempts to read) into word connections (encoding) becomes problematic when dyslexic brains form brain waves related to trying to read.

Science and education have previously focused more on the process of taking words apart to create basic sounds (decoding) as an intervention.  Understanding the decoding process is still very, very important.  However, this new breakthrough study reveals that a better understanding of the encoding  process may be the virtual key to better understanding the dyslexic brain.   To read the full article or to learn more about the great work taking place at Northwestern click here: