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“Wolf restores our awe of the human brain—its adaptability, its creativity, and its ability to connect with other minds through a procession of silly squiggles.” — San Francisco Chronicle
How do people learn to read and write—and how has the development of these skills transformed the brain and the world itself? Neuropsychologist and child development expert Maryann Wolf answers these questions in this ambitious and provocative book that chronicles the remarkable journey of written language not only throughout our evolution but also over the course of a single child’s life, showing why a growing percentage have difficulty mastering these abilities.
With fascinating down-to-earth examples and lively personal anecdotes, Wolf asserts that the brain that examined the tiny clay tablets of the Sumerians is a very different brain from the one that is immersed in today’s technology-driven literacy, in which visual images on the screen are paving the way for a reduced need for written language—with potentially profound consequences for our future.
Maryanne Wolf, the John DiBiaggio Professor of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University, was the director of the Tufts Center for Reading and Language Research. She currently directs the Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice at UCLA, and is working with the Dyslexia Center at the UCSF School of Medicine and with Curious Learning: A Global Literacy Project, which she co-founded. She is the recipient of multiple research and teaching honors, including the highest awards by the International Dyslexia Association and the Australian Learning Disabilities Association. She is the author of Proust and the Squid (HarperCollins), Tales of Literacy for the 21st Century (Oxford University Press), and more than 160 scientific publications.