Skim reading is the new normal. The effect on society is profound
Look around on your next plane trip. The iPad is the new pacifier for babies and toddlers. Younger school-aged children read stories on smartphones; older boys don’t read at all, but hunch over video games. Parents and other passengers read on Kindles or skim a flotilla of email and news feeds. Unbeknownst to most of us, an invisible, game-changing transformation links everyone in this picture: the neuronal circuit that underlies the brain’s ability to read is subtly, rapidly changing - a change with implications for everyone from the pre-reading toddler to the expert adult. As work in neurosciences indicates, the acquisition of literacy necessitated a new circuit in our species’ brain more than 6,000 years ago. This is not a simple, binary issue of print vs digital reading and technological innovation. We know from research that the reading circuit is not given to human beings through a genetic blueprint like vision or language; it needs an environment to develop.
Related: Critical Thinking
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