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Maryanne Wolf has done it again. She has written another seminal book destined to become a dog-eared, well-thumbed, often-referenced treasure on your bookshelf. Wolf weaves her background in neuroscience, education, literature, and technology into a thoughtful exploration of various complex issues related to the reading brain.
In her newest book, Reader Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World, Wolf challenges her readers to read and think deeply about, well, reading and thinking deeply.
Wolf outlines her concerns about changes in the brain as it adapts to digital mediums. Some of her thought-provoking questions include the following:
– Will the next generation, immersed in multitasking and digital mediums, learn to develop slower and essential cognitive processes such as critical thinking, reflection, and empathy – all parts of deep reading?
– Will the seemingly continuous demands for our attention and immediate access to voluminous information change the development of personal storehouses of knowledge and affect our ability to make analogies, draw inferences, and arrive at independent judgments?
– Will the chain of digital influences ultimately impact critical analysis and empathy in our citizenscore requirements of a democracyand will potential changes in these capacities leave us more susceptible to fake news and demagoguery?
Clearly, these important questions have much bearing on todays challenging political-social environment. Wolfs letters culminate in a hopeful proposal for a biliterate reading brain. And what is that? Ah, you will need to read Reader Come Home to find out. But you will not regret one moment you spend reading and thinking deeply about the intriguing letters Maryanne Wolf has written to you.
Maryanne Wolf is a scholar, a teacher, and an advocate for children and literacy around the world. She is the Director of the newly created Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. Previously she was the John DiBiaggio Professor of Citizenship and Public Service and Director of the Center for Reading and Language Research in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University. She is the author of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain (2007, HarperCollins), Dyslexia, Fluency, and the Brain (Edited; York, 2001), Tales of Literacy for the 21st Century (2016, Oxford University Press), and Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World (August, 2018, HarperCollins).