Proof of Brain Gym is in the practice

27th July 2007 at 01:00
Your article "Jury is out on Brain Gym" (TES, July 20) inaccurately stated that the report Neuroscience and Education has dispelled the notion that the "brain buttons" exercise helps to stimulate the ability to read and in general puts a negative spin on Brain Gym, despite the balanced title. In fact, the report states that "short sessions of Brain Gym exercises have been shown to improve response times".

Paul Dennison developed Brain Gym by finding out what worked in practice, not from a theoretical basis of how the brain and body interact. A few years ago, aerodynamics experts showed it is not possible for bees to fly, yet they can. Theory does not have all the answers.

There have been few properly controlled studies of Brain Gym, and the first question should surely be "Does it work?" not "Is the explanation of why it works acceptable?"

We recently completed research involving 100 poor readers from Year 8. It showed an average increase in reading age of the Brain Gym group of nearly one year more than a baseline control group. This is now being prepared for publication later this year, together with forthcoming research involving 800 Year 4 children.

So Brain Gym really does seem to work, even though we do not yet know why.

Buffy McClelland

The Oxford Brain Gym,

Oxford

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