N4L 152: "Reader Come Home" by Maryanne Wolf


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By Janet Perry, Janet Perry: blogger, and Nonfiction book lover. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.


Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World, by Maryanne Wolf, includes a treatise for deep reading in a world that has shifted from print to digital medium. In her book, Wolf addresses a myriad of attendant issues, concerns, and questions about the future of reading. While explaining the complexity surrounding the acquisition of reading skills, she also extols the virtues and joys of moving from information and knowledge to wisdom. Packed with research as well as sage insights from a multitude of sources, Reader, Come Home tackles themes “at the doorway of galactic changes over the next few generations” while also issuing the ever-alluring invitation to simply read.


  • print medium – advantages slower, time-consuming, deep reading processes
  • digital medium – allows for rapid skimming, word-spotting, and multi-tasking
  • phonics vs. the whole language – “the debate that should never have been”
  • deep reading – a system of inferential, abstract, empathic, critical analysis, perspective-taking processes
  • neuroplasticity – brain’s ability to form new circuits by connecting older parts; “underlies just about everything interesting about reading”
  • attention – concentration essential for developing deep reading skills
  • annotating – (handwritten) slows us down; enhances reflection
  • circuit-building – begins with lots of practice while learning foundational skills during learning-to-read phase; moves into reading-by and reading-to phrase and talking about the content
  • biliterate brain – one that can switch between print and digital mediums


  • "Human beings were never born to read."
  • “When language and thought atrophy, when complexity wanes and everything become more and more the same, we run great risks in society politic—whether from extremists in a religion or a political or, less obviously, from advertisers.”
  • “There are no shortcuts to becoming a good reader.”
  • “I want children to learn the capacity for…cognitive patience.”
  • “Deep literacy is intrinsically connected to democracy.”

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