Deep Reading Brain
The science of reading is an interdisciplinary body of scientifically-based research around how the brain learns to read. That is, while humans have an innate desire to communicate, they are not born to read. The brain has to be intentionally constructed in order to read.
Every child has the right to read. In the modern world, literacy is required for anyone to have the opportunity to live a life of their own choosing. And proficiency is not enough. Only through deep reading do we learn the personal reflection, imagination, empathy, critical, and executive function required to become an informed and active citizen - and also to make the most difference in the lives of others.
Research is clear that our brains activate in concert with the experiences and characters we come to know through books. Whether it is through storybooks or great literature, our brains "feel" what the characters feel and become solution oriented when a character needs our help to survive or succeed. Books give us a sort of protected rehearsal for life. We become attached to the people we read about, we care about them... sometimes deeply...and we mourn their loss when our book is finished.
In other words, the books we read as young students provide a laboratory for our own character development. The characters in our readings are our role models, if you will, allowing us to think more deeply about their actions and reactions. We are taught through the stories and our discussions to consider whether their decisions were wise, kind, or helpful…or not, without having to experience the consequences of those decisions in our own lives.
Learning to read isn't just about exploring new places and learning about different things, it is about BECOMING. It is about constructing a deep reading brain that has options for how to think about one's self and who we want to be, about the plight of others and how we might help. If children don't learn to decode and comprehend well in the early years, they may never be the reader they could have been and their BECOMING will be dependent on those around them. They must then experience the consequences of their own decisions, without being able to predict the outcomes in advance. We have to do something… before they BECOME what we don’t want them to be. The longer we wait, the more at risk our children and our communities will be."
-Sondra Mims, Chief Academic Officer, Atlanta Speech School 1986-2022