The Reading Brain with Maryanne Wolf

Maryanne Wolf is the author of Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World, Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain, Tales of Literacy for the 21st Century, Dyslexia, Fluency, and the Brain as well as over 160 scientific articles. She is a scholar, teacher, and Director of the newly-created Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice at UCLA. Maryanne began her work in Cognitive Neuroscience and Psycholinguistics at the Department of Human Development and Psychology at Harvard University, where she also completed her doctorate. A staunch advocate for children and global literacy, Maryanne designed the Rave-O, reading intervention for children with dyslexia and co-founded Curious Learning, a global literacy initiative.

Maryanne joins me today to discuss the neuroscience of reading. She explains how the act of reading creates circuits in our brains and allow us to gain a deeper perspective and cultivate empathy. She illustrates how the modern reader’s tendency to skim through reading mediums impacts their memory and democracy. She also underscores the need for every teacher to understand the science of reading and how reading helps children realize their fullest potential as human beings.


“Deep reading is the ability to bear all of our best and most sophisticated intellectual processes: the discernment and evaluation of truth, beauty, and ‘other’.” – Maryanne Wolf

This week on The School for Good Living Podcast:

  • Maryanne’s experience while teaching in Hawaii and how she was inspired to study neuroscience
  • How reading helps children achieve their fullest potential as human beings
  • The evolution and neuroscience of reading, and how we create circuits in our brain through the act of reading
  • The brain on processing different languages and how reading on a screen affects neuroplasticity
  • The definition of deep reading and how it helps us widen our perspectives and cultivate empathy
  • Linda Stone’s ‘continuous partial attention,’ and the sharp decline of empathy in our generation
  • How distraction affects memory, empathy, and democracy
  • Reading as a form of magic and how language helps create a bridge to the highest aspect of our being

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Maryanne Wolf:

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