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Proust and the Squid: The story and Science of the Reading Brain.

PROUST AND THE SQUID: The story and Science of the Reading Brain MARYANNE WOLF

The ability to read represents one of the most remarkable adaptations of the human brain. Reading is not a preprogrammed function like speech, yet most children are able to pick up the ability with relative ease. In doing so, they open their minds to new worlds and experiences. Wolf examines how the ability to read emerged in people, starting about 2,000 B.C. with the Sumerians. The book goes on to examine how learning to read and the act of reading change a person's brain over a lifetime. Though Socrates deemed the written word inferior to the spoken word, Wolf notes, alphabets and written words permit an expansion of knowledge and a remodeling of the human brain. Wolf, a professor of child development, pays particular attention to how children learn to read. She examines the effects of poverty on that process and how a brain's emotional centers are affected by what a person reads. Finally, she looks at the devastating effects of dyslexia and ponders whether modern information technology will erode people's ability to comprehend and appreciate nuances of the written word. HarperCollins, 2007, 308 p., hardcover, $25.95.

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Title Annotation:Books: A selection of new and notable books of scientific interest
Publication:Science News
Date:Oct 13, 2007
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