$1 Million Study Brings Big Benefit for Local Students

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Waskom ISD becomes focus of research to improve learning ability.

Every student in the district completed testing with the Gibson Test.

access to online reading readiness and learning skill development tools is a critical ingredient to improve reading proficiency and graduation rates

Cognitive First (Cog1st, the CogRead Literacy Campaign) announces a grant in support of a groundbreaking study being conducted by Virginia State University and funded by the National Science Foundation. The study, underway at Waskom Independent School District in Waskom,Texas, has the potential to help every student in that district and will provide valuable information to the fields of science and education.
A $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation will fund the largest part of the study which takes place at the high school level and examines how cognitive skills training can help students improve their learning ability and physically change the brain.
“This is an amazing opportunity to boost the learning skills and potential of every single student at our school with no cost to parents or the district,” says Waskom High School Principal Stuart Musick. “The cognitive testing alone will provide valuable information for our teachers and families regarding each student’s strengths and weaknesses, and will give us the insight we need to help strengthen those skills to improve grades and performance.”
Every student in the district completed testing with the Gibson Test in October to evaluate his or her cognitive skills—the mental tools we all use to think, learn, reason, read, remember and pay attention. These skills include things like memory, attention, logic and reasoning, auditory and visual processing and processing speed. Significant grants from Cog1st helped cover the cost of testing and will also pay for online brain training for some students at the elementary level.

According to Larry Hargrave, founder of Cognitive First, access to online reading readiness and learning skill development tools is a critical ingredient to improve reading proficiency and graduation rates. “We are pleased to be donating access to evaluations and online exercise sets being used in this study. Our nonprofit currently offers any parent free access to an exercise that strengthens phonemic awareness skills and helps to prevent reading difficulties. We also sponsor teachers, schools and community organizations with a reading readiness exercise set, along with cognitive skill evaluations (2nd grade and above) and comprehensive online brain skill training packages for under-resourced and at-risk children.”
The study is more in-depth at the high school level where principal investigator Dr. Oliver Hill, Jr. and other researchers from Virginia State University will oversee the study which includes brain scans for some students. High school students will be randomly placed into three groups: a control group that gets normal academic instruction, a second group that receives extra online brain training at school for 15 weeks, and a third group that will undergo 15 weeks of one-to-one cognitive skills training with their own personal brain trainer from LearningRx.
“We know this brain training methodology brings dramatic improvements in learning and reading ability for students of any age and academic ability,” says Donesa Walker of LearningRx Shreveport. “We’re thrilled to be a part of this extensive study that will not only help the students of Waskom ISD, it will help students everywhere by showing how this type of training can physically change the brain to be faster, smarter and more efficient.”
Changes in the brain will be measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) before and after the 15 week period by university researchers who are collaborating on the study. Participants will be randomly chosen for the brain scans.
Cognitive First is joined by administrators, researchers, cognitive skills experts and brain trainers to make this opportunity happen. More information about the possibility of sponsored programs for children in your community is available at the Cog1st.org website.

About Cog1st
Cognitive First™ (Cog1st, the CogRead Literacy Campaign) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping under-resourced and at-risk students become proficient readers and learners. Cog1st provides parents, schools and community programs with online screening to evaluate core learning skills and with online exercise sets to help ensure that children have the foundational skills to empower their educational success. Program grants for Title 1 schools are available. 
About LearningRx® brain training specializes in treating the cause – not the symptoms – of learning struggles. The programs’ game-like exercises and 1:1 trainer-to-student ratios provide guaranteed dramatic improvement. With more than 75 centers across the country, LearningRx brain training can help anyone – from 5 to 85 – increase the speed, power or function of their brain.
About the Gibson Test
The Gibson Test of  brain skills is the online cognitive skills assessment used by Cog1st and in the Waskom ISD study. Pediatric visual processing specialist Dr. Ken Gibson developed the assessment as an affordable option to uncover cognitive weaknesses that contribute to reading and learning struggles. In less than 40 minutes the online test can uncover weak skills and give parents or teachers a guide to make learning easier.
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Larry Hargrave
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