Dorn Delivers Keynote at California Reading Association Conference

Linda Dorn, UALR Professor of Reading, delivered the opening keynote at the California Reading Association conference on November 2. Her topic Changing the Brain Through Teaching challenged educators to reflect on the role of scaffolding in shaping the literacy minds of students. She described how teachers design the conditions to activate children’s background knowledge and to stimulate their problem-solving activity for constructing new knowledge. Dorn explained that when teachers observe children in the process of solving meaningful problems, they collect behavioral evidence that provides a window into children’s thinking. During instructional activities, literacy is the tool for increasing student knowledge; therefore, instruction leads development. Dorn proposed that if a child is experiencing difficulty, teachers must examine the learning conditions and increase their degree of scaffolding to accommodate the student’s needs. Using theories from multiple disciplines, including biology, cognitive psychology, and literacy processing, Dorn applied these concepts to real-world examples from K-8 classrooms. Following the keynote, Dorn was interviewed by Dr. Paul Boyd-Batstone, Professor at California State University and Editor of the California Reading Association Journal. The interview will be published in the upcoming CRA Journal.

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