“Reading is a conversation. All books talk. But a good book listens as well.”
August 18, 2018
Human beings were never born to read. Reading is a human invention that reflects how the brain rearranges itself to learn something new. Reading changed the brain and changed the way we think and feel. And now we are seeing how technology is transforming the brain and a question we are beginning to get some answers to is cause for concern. What is happening to the reading brain as it unavoidably changes to adapt to digital mediums.
There is a part of the brain that is responsible for deep reading, which is the active process of thoughtful and deliberate reading in the interest to enhance one’s comprehension, which is the opposite of skimming or superficial reading. If you think of the brain as a muscle, the parts that are not exercised do not develop, they atrophy. A brain that is more and more dependent on screens affect a person’s critical thinking, personal reflection, imagination and empathy that comprise deep reading.
A few sobering facts
• The Core Curriculum at Columbia University is a required class with an average of 200-300 pages of reading each week and professors are finding that many students can’t get through their assignments due to decreased in attention span.
• In the 1990’s 3-5% of American school age children were thought to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, By 2013 that number was 11%
• Sherry Turkle, an M.I.T. sociologist and psychologist in her book “ Reclaiming Conversation” tells how children, rather than competing with siblings for their parent’s attention, are up against phones, iPad, Siri, and Alexa, apple watches and computer screens.
In Shakespeare’s time, the word conversation meant two things—verbal discourse and sex. That’s how intimate the most well-known poet and playwright in the English language viewed the act of talking with another person.
June 26, 2018
We know from extensive research that without continued reading in the summer, students fall back in their reading achievement. The good news is that the latest research shows students who read at least 4 books over the summer maintain or even increase their skills. Reading is a skill that improves each time we read to […]
May 19, 2018
I have the privilege to get to know people through reading with them I am always impressed and rewarded by the many ideas brought to me in our shared reading. Just recently I was introduced to a poem by a 6th grader—she made the connection of this poem to the many ideas embedded in the […]
May 14, 2018
I am not much for the Hallmark Holidays and Mother’s Day ranks right up there, but I do like the sentiments that can be inside Mother’s Day. I share a few below A favorite Jewish Proverb and one I whole heartedly believe in. God could not be everywhere and therefore he created mothers. One of […]
May 1, 2018
Speaking with some people in their mid 30’s I was sad to hear how many of them view reading as a means to an end—they very much coral their reading into the world of prescriptive nonfiction‚ believing what they cannot quantify, such as the value of reading fiction, is of little value. Those who read […]