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  • There's nothing less natural than reading.

  • Reading is an acquired set of skills that literally changes the brain.

  • Everyone should be reading books. This is it.

  • Books are life experience, books are knowledge.

  • Books are community.

  • Without books, we wouldn't be human in the way that we are.

  • Literacy is one of the greatest inventions of the human species.

  • First fire, then reading, I'd say.

  • Reading is the blink of the eye in our evolutionary clock.

  • It's only six thousand years old, and it began in such a simple way

  • to mark how many wine vessels or sheep we had.

  • And with the birth of alphabetic systems,

  • we began to have an efficient means of remembering,

  • and storing knowledge.

  • What reading does is exploit a principle of design

  • in the human brain, that allows it to make new connections

  • between visual regions, language regions,

  • regions for thought and emotion.

  • It begins actually afresh in every new reader.

  • It doesn't exist inside our head.

  • Each person who has to learn to read,

  • has to create a brand new circuit in their brain.

  • Reading a great story is so much more than entertainment.

  • Reading actually has many therapeutic benefits.

  • Bibliotherapy is the art of prescribing fiction

  • to cure life's ailments.

  • Claustrophobia, rage, exhaustion and the cure is Zorba The Greek.

  • Reading brings three magical powers -

  • creativity, intelligence and empathy.

  • Reading for the joy of it is one of the two key factors

  • in a kids later economic success.

  • You're more likely to not be in prison,

  • to vote, to own your own home.

  • All of these advantages and benefits happen as a result of literacy.

  • Your brain goes into a meditative state.

  • A physical process which slows your heartbeat and calms you down,

  • and reduces anxiety.

  • When we read at a surface level, we're just getting the information.

  • When we read deeply, we're using much more of our cerebral cortex.

  • Deep reading means that we make analogies, we make inferences,

  • which allows us to be truly critical, analytic, empathic, human beings.

  • We think of the book as the work,

  • but the book is just a delivery mechanism.

  • The novel is evolving.

  • There's all sorts of amazing books which are being written deliberately

  • to be read on phones.

  • These kind of new mediums, they are giving a voice

  • to a new generation of writers,

  • who don't have to kind of get through a bottleneck.

  • Stops us from having this kind of conditioning

  • as to what is 'good writing'

  • and it actually allows people just to talk and share stories

  • and to share experiences.

  • It doesn't matter the medium, it doesn't matter how you get it,

  • it's a story.

  • And the book maybe provides this illusion that this is it.

  • It's never been it, it's a way into a thought process.

  • We brought together scholars and scientists from over 30 countries,

  • to do research about the impact of digitisation on reading.

  • We found that there is, what they call, a screen inferiority.

  • There is a lot that can be equally well read on your smartphone,

  • shorter news updates, but with something

  • that is cognitively or emotionally challenging.

  • Reading on a screen leads to poorer reading comprehension

  • than reading on paper.

  • The reality is, it's not what or how much we read

  • but how we read, that's really important.

  • The very volume is having negative effects because to absorb that much,

  • there's a propensity towards skimming.

  • The reading brain has a plastic circuitry.

  • The circuit will reflect the characteristics

  • of the medium with which it reads.

  • The characteristics of the digital

  • are going to be reflected in the circuit.

  • If we don't train those capacities, we may eventually lose

  • the ability to understand more complex content,

  • and also perhaps to engage and to imagine.

  • The human imagination is a fantastic thing - we're very flexible.

  • We find ways of doing what we want with the technology we've got.

  • I think we'll see a lot more short story connections,

  • and I think we'll see a lot more shorter books.

  • I've changed the way that I write

  • because children's attention span has got shorter.

  • The chapters are short, it's incredibly visual.

  • Look, shiny like a sweet.

  • Just and people can be bi and trilingual,

  • my hope is that we will be developing a biliterate brain.

  • We can discipline ourselves to choose the medium

  • that is best suited for what we're reading

  • so that we don't lose the extraordinary gift

  • that reading has given our species.

  • So, what would happen if we stopped reading books?

  • We'd die.

  • We'd die. We'd be so boring.

There's nothing less natural than reading.

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B1 reading read brain circuit medium human

What does reading on screens do to our brains? | BBC Ideas

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    Summer posted on 2021/10/28
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