Proust and the Squid
the story and science of the reading brain
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A cognitive neuroscientist explains the amazing path by which humans, 6000 years ago in Sumer, began to make marks on clay to keep accounts & share information, leading eventually to the acquisition of reading as a human trait. While language is embedded in human genetics, reading is not, and thus each new human must undergo the roughly 2000 days of training that it typically takes to turn out a beginning reader at around age 5. Wolf explains the complex and varied activities that occur in multiple neighborhoods of the brain (letter recognition, phonemic awareness, sensitivity to syntax, short term memory, automaticity) that unite to result in the act of reading. Her research into dyslexia has led to new approaches to reading instruction and awareness of different aptitudes that so called "learning disabled" individuals (including da Vinci, Einstein, Edison, Gaudi, Charles Schwab) have possessed. A heady, erudite and inspiring book that's not an easy read but which richly repays the effort.
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