Reading is a simulated language experience constructed by our brains
according to the instructions and information contained in a c-o-d-e.
THE VOICE INSIDE
The words you are “hearing” (or if you prefer; thinking, knowing, experiencing, comprehending… ) in your mind right now are being artificially inseminated. They’re not naturally occurring, they’re not coming in through your ears and they’re not emanating from your own thoughts or memories. The words you are experiencing (right now) are being produced by a virtual machine in your brain. Like a DVD player that turns the code on a disc into a movie on your TV, the machine in your brain is turning this c-o-d-e on your screen into the words you are experiencing in your mind.
Reading requires that our brains process information artificially.
The virtual machine in your brain is a web of a neural circuits that were artificially learned* into your brain when you were learning to read. This unique form of neural circuitry causes the biologically based natural language processes of our brains to perform in programmably machine like ways according to the instructions and information contained in a c-o-d-e.
Though this virtual machine functions in ways similar to other modern information technologies like modems, CD players, MP3 Players, DVD players, computer sound and video cards… technologies that transform streams of code into streams of human-intelligible experiences, one of the best metaphors for understanding reading is the old fashioned player piano:
LIKE A PLAYER PIANO
Getting children’s brains to grow these artificial brain circuits is only part of our challenge but it’s an absolutely critical one. In the future, our conversation about reading will discuss:
Reading Readiness: What sub processing proficiencies are prerequisite to beginning reading (attention span, emotional resilience, phonemic differentiation, visual acuity, frustration tolerance, working memory, vocabulary, speed of processing, background knowledge…)? What must a child’s brain be able to do to be neuro-developmentally ready to learn/build this machine?
The Machinery of Reading: A look at reading through the lens of neuro-tech processing that examines how the machine works and where it’s prone to have problems.
The Code: A brief history of the code with attention to the processing efficiency of the code as a code.
Teaching Reading: Thoughts about differentially unfolding learning challenges so as to steward struggling readers up the ladder into reading in ways most efficient to the development of their brain’s reading machine.
Reading Emotions: The role of emotion in motivating, disrupting, and demotivating reading.
Learning to read is the process through which our brains learn to build this virtual machinery. The better we understand this virtual machine and how it works the better we can help children’s brains learn to construct it. I say ‘children’s brains’ because for reasons we will see, the child doesn’t so much learn to read as their brains do. In that most important sense, this isn’t about technology or brains. This is about how the machinery of reading becomes transparent to (or a nightmare for) the beautiful ‘beings’ in our children’s brains.
THERE’S A BEING IN THE BRAIN
Artificial Learning: A major distinction and Key Meme of Learning Stewards is the distinction ‘artificial learning’. In essence artificial learning is learning that formats brain processing according to human inventions, convention and technology (artificial) rather than the natural proprioceptive processes that guide natural learning.
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