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Brain fitness could help raise reading test score

How do we raise Maryland's standardized test scores?
How do we raise Maryland's standardized test scores? (Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda / Orlando Sentinel)

On the heels of a deeply disappointing National Report Card, Talia Richman’s story, (“’Frankly, devastating’: Maryland reading scores decline on national assessment,”Oct. 30) calls for Maryland to “take dramatic action to revamp its education system or watch its students fall further behind." I couldn’t agree more.

For decades, Maryland’s school system has attempted to raise scores and close the achievement gap through new interventions, curricula, resources and additional training, and yet, our students keep falling further behind. But new neuroscience-based programs are offering real hope and producing striking results including, a fourfold increase in pass rates on state standardized reading tests, 28% higher grades in core subjects and 60% decreases in behavioral issues.

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The fact is, children cannot be expected to read and do math if they’re unable to learn, think and focus. By strengthening critical executive function skills, students are better able to absorb academic content and be better prepared for 21st century careers. Brain fitness programs, now in over 7,200 U.S. schools nationwide, are achieving the kind of results that warrant serious attention. Schools do not need to wait for solutions to be developed and tested. Neuroscience-based programs that improve the outcomes for our youth are readily available. Our children are waiting.

Linda Raines, Lutherville

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The writer is CEO of BrainFutures and The Mental Health Association of Maryland.

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