The reading brain can be likened to the real-time collaborative effort of a symphony orchestra
– Thomas Oppong
A little over five centuries ago, the Sumerians in the city of Uruk invented cuneiform, the first writing system. This was among the most important developments in human history—taking its place on the stage of progress along with fire, the wheel, agriculture, and spoken language. It allowed ideas to travel from place to place and from present to future with absolute fidelity.
Now reading is so embedded in our lives that we typically don’t notice it unless there’s a problem. From road signs, to package labels, to internet surfing, to books, to captions, our world is a literal world. Written language is ubiquitous and its very presence grounds and comforts us.
Once you learn to read, you will be forever free
– Frederick Douglass
There are profound reasons that reading is so important. In researching this series of eletters on reading I had to think about the reading process. We see marks on paper (or on a screen or wall or even as smoke in the sky) and process them in such a way that we recognize letters (despite thousands of possible fonts and millions of variations of handwriting), interpret groups of letters as words, process groups of words and punctuation symbols as sentences, paragraphs, chapters, and so on. And that’s just the mechanics.
Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body
– Richard Steele
Then, of course, we must engage our imagination and reasoning to understand the writing. As our eyes move across the page we are able to see a snowman with a carrot nose, watch a speeding train, hear a baby crying, feel the heat of a warm fire, or worry that the hero of the story won’t be able to pay the rent…without moving from the chair or even looking up from the book.
This is powerful stuff for the brain.
We’re here to help make sure your children (and you as well) have full access to that power.
While we’ll be announcing the program over the next few weeks, you can get started now.
Call (703-910-5006) or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss any of this or let me know what you’d like to see in our program.
So it is with children who learn to read fluently and well: They begin to take flight into whole new worlds as effortlessly as young birds take to the sky
– William James
– Richard Feingold, Co-founder