Reading Changes Us
Proust and the Squid by Maryanne Wolf is a remarkable book that explains how reading deepens our thinking. Brain plasticity enables us to learn to read – the brain creates new pathways and these then become the basis for new, innovative thinking. Reading and thinking enhance each other:
…the rich associations, inferences, and insights emerging from this capacity allow us to reach beyond the specific context of what we read to form new thoughts.
Wolf wonders if this ‘constructive heart’ of reading will be weakened by computers which favour shallow thinking – read The Shallows. All this suggests that primary schools should invest in excellent libraries, before getting laptops for every child. Wolf also looks in micro-detail at the skills a child needs to learn to read. It’s a challenge but there’s something we can do to help, Wolf concludes:
The amount of time the child spends listening to parents and other loved ones read continues to be one of the best predictors of later reading.