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Reading is something very complex. Moving from what letters look like to what they sound like is a complex multi-sensory task that requires cooperation among brain areas specialized for visual and auditory processing.

Researchers call this collection of specialized brain regions that map letters to sounds (or phonemes) the reading network. The extent to which these sensory-specific parts of the brain are able to connect as a network, not necessarily anatomically, but functionally, during a child’s development predicts their reading proficiency, according to a new neuroimaging study from the University at Buffalo.

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This developmental shift integrates previously segregated parts of the brain, suggesting that changes in reading skill are associated with the nature and degree of these changes to the neural pathways within the reading network. Essentially “[…] the brain rewires itself so that it goes from having one area working on visual matters and another working on auditory matters to the two areas working together as a cohesive unit,” says Chris McNorgan, an assistant professor of psychology at UB and co-author of the research published in a special edition of Frontiers in Psychology focusing on audio-visual processing in reading. (1)

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In the beginning there was One.

And there was no need to talk.

No need to read or understand.

Because we just experienced it.

Being part of it. Knowing it.

Then we broke the mirror in a thousand pieces.

And we now need to put them back together.

But we don’t understand is that the tool we are using to do that is the same tool which created the pieces in the first place. Stop trying to make things right we must. Stop thinking. Stop trying to understand. And just let things be. It sounds so easy an option. So seemingly self-satisfying. And yet we are afraid of it. Because we see our own self in those pieces. And we know that once we put them all together we will be gone.

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People won’t read about us in books.

No one will speak about us anymore.

But we will be in the heart of the cosmos.

Spreading in the morning wind.

Through the songs of the mocking birds…