Our ‘Deep Reading’ Brain: Its Digital Evolution Poses Questions

‘The reading circuit’s very plasticity is also its Achilles’ heel. It can be fully fashioned over time and fully implemented when we read, or it can be short-circuited …’

By Maryanne Wolf

Will we lose the “deep reading” brain in a digital culture? No one knows—yet.

The preceding paragraph provides a legitimate synopsis of this essay. It also exemplifies the kind of reduced reading that concerns me greatly, both for expert adult readers and even more so for young novice readers, those who are learning how to read in a way that helps them to comprehend and expand upon the information given.

14_07_hersensThe challenges surrounding how we learn to think about what we read raise profound questions. They have implications for us intellectually, socially and ethically. Whether an immersion in digitally dominated forms of reading will change the capacity to think deeply, reflectively and in an intellectually autonomous manner when we read is a question well worth raising. But it isn’t one I can answer now, given how early we are in the transition to digital content.


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