Departing from the observation that illiterates
significantly underscore in some neuropsychological tests,
a learning-to-read method named NEUROALFA was developed.
NEUROALFA is directed to reinforce these underscored abilities
during the learning-to-read process. It was administered
to a sample of 21 adult illiterates in Colima (Mexico).
Results were compared with 2 control groups using more
traditional procedures in learning to read. The NEUROPSI
neuropsychological test battery was administered to all
the participants before and after completing the learning-to-read
training program. All 3 groups presented some improvement
in the test scores. Gains, however, were significantly
higher in the experimental group in Orientation in Time,
Digits Backward, Visual Detection, Verbal Memory, Copy
of a Semi-Complex Figure, Language Comprehension, Phonological
Verbal Fluency, Similarities, Calculation Abilities, Sequences,
and all the recall subtests, excluding Recognition. Performance
in standard reading tests was also significantly higher
in the experimental group. Correlations between pretest
NEUROPSI scores and reading ability were low. However,
correlations between posttest NEUROPSI scores and reading
scores were higher and significant for several subtests.
Results are interpreting as supporting the assumption that
reinforcement of those abilities in which illiterates significantly
underscore results in a significant improvement in neuropsychological
test scores and strongly facilitates the learning-to-read
process. The NEUROALFA method of teaching reading to adult
illiterates is beginning to be used extensively in Mexico.
To our knowledge, this is the first attempt to apply neuropsychological
principles to social problems. (JINS, 2000, 6,