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Learning to Read: What happens in our brains when we read?

Did you know that our brains are not wired for reading? According to cognitive neuroscientist Stanislas Dehaene, "Evolution never shaped the brain to read. No brain structures have been developed through evolution to make sense of written words." In fact, we have learn to repurpose specific parts of the brain designed for other activities like speaking and recognizing faces in order to read fluently.

For many of us, having access to instruction that draws attention to the connection between letters and sounds is crucial for becoming a fluent reader. As Dehaene explains, this kind of instruction teaches the brain to take the preferred route from vision to spoken language while a whole word approach does not. To learn more about why children benefit from explicit instruction in letter-sound correspondence, watch this week's offering - The Brain Prize Presents: Stanislas Dehaene.


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