Reader, Come Home
The Reading Brain in a Digital World
A decade ago, Maryanne Wolf’s Proust and the Squid revealed what we know about how the brain learns to read and how reading changes the way we think and feel. Since then, the ways we process written language have changed dramatically with many concerned about both their own changes and that of children. New research on the reading brain chronicles these changes in the brains of children and adults as they learn to read while immersed in a digitally dominated medium.
Drawing deeply on this research, this book comprises a series of letters Wolf writes to us—her beloved readers—to describe her concerns and her hopes about what is happening to the reading brain as it unavoidably changes to adapt to digital mediums.
Concerns about attention span, critical reasoning, and over-reliance on technology are never just about children—Wolf herself has found that, though she is a reading expert, her ability to read deeply has been impacted as she has become, inevitably, increasingly dependent on screens.
Wolf draws on neuroscience, literature, education, technology, and philosophy and blends historical, literary, and scientific facts with down-to-earth examples and warm anecdotes to illuminate complex ideas that culminate in a proposal for a biliterate reading brain.
Provocative and intriguing, Reader, Come Home is a roadmap that provides a cautionary but hopeful perspective on the impact of technology on our brains and our most essential intellectual capacities—and what this could mean for our future.
Letter One: Reading, the Canary in the Mind
Letter Two: Under the Big Top: An Unusual View of the Reading Brain
Letter Three: Deep Reading: Is It Endangered?
Letter Four: “What Will Become of the Readers We Have Been?”
Letter Five: The Raising of Children in a Digital Age
Letter Six: From Laps to Laptops in the First Five Years: Don’t Move Too Fast
Letter Seven: The Science and Poetry in Learning (and Teaching) To Read
Letter Eight: Building A Biliterate Brain
Letter Nine: Reader, Come Home