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Effective learning strategies can vary from child to child — but youth brain studies reveal new clues that can help educators improve students’ academic achievement.

On this week’s podcast, Timothy Brown, assistant professor of neurosciences at UCSD’s School of Medicine, joined co-hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn to talk about youth brain development, the impact of childhood trauma and technology’s role in brain studies. Brown said increased collaboration between neuroscientists and educators can lead to information breakthroughs.

“If you can capture some of these problems early, you might be able to develop programs that help kids,” Brown said. “With certain targeted training programs that just focus on these lower-level sound discrimination tests, it has been shown some kids get better. They become better readers, they become better speakers.”

Lewis and Kohn also play a speech by Patricia Kuhl, professor and co-director at the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, in which she explains how brain studies can predict when a child is ready to learn to read.

Lewis and Kohn also discuss the benefits of encouraging bilingual youth to use their language skills when they’re at home and school — instead of switching languages based on location.

Got thoughts, opinions or experiences with this? Call 619-354-1085 and leave your name, neighborhood and story so we can play the voicemail on future episodes.

Number of the Week

25 percent, 70 percent and 92 percent: Those are the percentages of how much a child’s brain weighs from birth to age 5. At birth, a baby’s brain weighs 25 percent of its adult brain weight, then increases to 70 percent of an adult brain weight by age 1 and reaches up to 92 percent of an adult brain weight by age 5.

What’s Working

Home Visiting Programs: San Diego-based programs Nurse-Family Partnership, First 5 First Steps and Project Concern International send visitors to homes of babies, toddlers and pregnant mothers to help parents understand how they can support their child’s development, including brain development.

Subscribe to Good Schools for All on iTunes or get the RSS feed here. Stream it here.

Rachel Evans

Rachel Evans is a reporter for Voice of San Diego. She can be reached at

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