Language Science

November and December Newsletter


Working Memory

Refers to the ability we have to hold and manipulate information in the mind over short periods of time.

What is Short-Term Memory?

STM has a limited capacity and along duration if continual rehearsal is allowed. Without rehearsal, information lasts for no more than 2 minutes in STM.

What is Long-Term Memory?

LTM is measured in days or years. It represents near-permanent memory storage, and can be subdivided as declarative and non-declarative memory.

1. The brain is constantly bombarded with sensory information and must identify and capture the “right” information (requires selective attention).

2. Problems can also occur as information moves from the sensory register to working memory:

– Not enough input may move forward (that is, information may be forgotten before it has ever had a chance to be remembered)

– Too much input may move forward (that is, the working memory may be overwhelmed by excessive input that it cannot handle)

Problems Related to Long-term Memory

  1. Problem can be one of acquisition (getting new information stored in an organized way—including connecting it to already learned information—for later retrieval)
  2. Or, problem can be one of retrieval. The information is in there, I just can’t find it quickly or easily when I need it.

Both acquisition and retrieval are dependent on working memory

• Students with LTM problems may perform poorly on tasks or tests that measure vocabulary, general fund of knowledge, or content-specific achievement tests.

• They may “know” something early in the learning process, but not know it the next day.

• In the classroom they may appear forgetful, disorganized, irresponsible, unsure of themselves, and less intelligent.

• May experience both academic and behavioral problems in class.

• May be frustrated and discouraged about learning. May believe they are not as “smart” as peers.

• May not respond as expected to interventions that focus only on content concerns.

• May withdraw from learning opportunities.


A major concern for parents as well as teachers is how to help children who experience difficulty in school. All parents want to see their child excel, and it can be very frustrating when a child falls behind in either learning to read, achieving as expected in math and other subjects, or getting along socially with peers and teachers. Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-step approach to providing services and interventions to struggling learners at increasing levels of intensity. RTI allows for early intervention by providing academic and behavioral supports rather than waiting for a child to fail before offering help.

Some new federal laws have directed schools to focus more on helping all children learn by addressing problems earlier, before the child is so far behind that a referral to special education services is warranted. These laws include the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004. Both laws underscore the importance of providing high quality, scientifically-based instruction and interventions, and hold schools accountable for the progress of all students in terms of meeting state grade level standards. RTI is a process designed to help schools focus on these high quality interventions while carefully monitoring student progress. The information gained from an RTI process is used by school personnel and parents to adapt instruction and to determine the educational needs of the child.

Miss Whited

I wanted to let you know that I will be having surgery on December 1st to rebuild my left thumb joint. I will be on medical leave until December 16th. Mrs. Dunn is coming in to be my substitute for the time I am out. She has worked with Language Science students and has a great understanding of the program and its different components. I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and a very Merry Christmas!!!