Reading, brain, and cognition

Vedran Dronjic, Tali Bitan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


In this chapter, we survey the neurocognitive underpinnings of reading. It is often remarked that, unlike spoken language, which evolved in humans over an extremely long period of time and has likely been around in its modern form for at least 100,000 years, reading and writing are relatively recent additions to our cognitive repertoire. The oldest confirmed writing systems are approximately 5,000 years old (see Chapter 1, this volume), and literacy has become truly widespread only over approximately the last century. This means that, while our brains had a chance on an evolutionary time scale to adapt to language, reading is a process that we are forced to perform with whatever cognitive resources are available. It is also often remarked that, while spoken language is acquired by all normally developing and healthily socialized children, with no explicit instruction required, learning how to read is a laborious and deliberate process that requires extensive instruction and practice. With this in mind, it is quite remarkable that reading functions as seamlessly as it does in skilled readers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationReading in a Second Language
Subtitle of host publicationCognitive and Psycholinguistic Issues
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages38
ISBN (Electronic)9781134690992
ISBN (Print)9780415893923
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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