Dr. Ioulia Kovelman, Associate Prof of Psychology, University of Michigan, to give talk on bilingualism and the young mind

Come join us online or in person for a talk with Dr. Ioulia Kovelman, on bilingualism and the young mind Friday, September 10, 2 PM to 3:30 PM Eastern, B117 Wells Hall or at the Zoom webinar location listed below. –Sponsored by the Second Language Studies Ph.D. Program.

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Talk Title: The Reading Brain: A Cross-Linguistic Comparison of Bilingual Children

Learning to read change’s mind and brain. How might bilingual experience influence children’s neural architecture for learning to read? Words have sounds and meanings. The neural architecture for learning to read includes the formation of sound-to-print and meaning-to-print neurocognitive pathways. Importantly, there is also significant cross-linguistic variation in how children form these associations. In phonologically transparent such as Italian, children develop stronger sound-to-print networks, whereas learners of Chinese form stronger meaning-to-print associations. To understand how bilingual experiences influence children’s developing neural architecture for learning to read we use fNIRS with Spanish-English and Chinese-English bilingual children in the US. Several key findings emerge from these data that we will discuss during the presentation. First, the findings reveal principled bilingual transfer effects of children’s phonological, morphological, and lexical processes for learning to read. Second, the findings reveal the Universal aspects of literacy development across these typologically-distinct languages. The findings are discussed in light of theoretical perspectives on learning to read, bilingual development, as well as the universal and language-specific aspects of language, literacy, and dyslexia. This research has been funded by the NICHD and the discussion includes that of research funding.