It is widely known that reading has tremendous benefits. It can enhance language development, it allows us to travel vicariously to an unknown world to learn and about different cultures, and it can improve our memory and attention span. These are just a few examples of advantages of reading regularly.

Although many take reading for granted, our brains are not hard wired for this complex skill. I recently had the opportunity to attend a workshop and learn about the challenges of learning to read. With the advancement of technology, scientists have been able to study brain activities in four different the areas of the brain involved in reading. When we read, there are four different areas of the brain that work together to process speech and sound, sounds and symbols, comprehend language, and make meaning of it all.

The most fascinating information I learned was that brain activation patterns can be “normalized” with early and intensive remediation in struggling readers. In teaching children how to read, we can actually cause the brain to rewire itself and create more white matter. This is amazing! This is not limited to reading, but to all learning. The brain can astonishingly grow beyond belief. In fact, any time we make a mistake, we are learning — and our brain grows by creating new synapses just by going through the challenge and struggle.

Now that it’s summer, let’s consider how we can grow our brains and even rewire them by keeping up with our reading and by not being afraid to try new activities!

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