Proust and the Squid by Maryanne Wolf [Book Summary – Review]


You still pause and think about what an awesome item is always readable whether you sit down to read a novel, click to a magazine, or read a text message on your telephone? Somehow, these twinkling little lines on the paper – or the television – come effortlessly to shape terms and phrases. When did our intellects come to do so on Earth?

This review focuses on human experience, evolution, and psychology to convey the remarkable tale of the first reading by human beings, the redesign of the brain, and the complexity in reading by other brains. I contend that reading is a vital part of our personal and species growth and that everyone needs the necessary help to improve this ability.


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Chapter 1 – When people began writing, our brains improved themselves to require on the challenge of reading.


The reading history is long and complex, but it is obvious that when we began learning, our minds learned to read.

It is incomprehensible to decide when people found composing specifically for the primary time. Yet, indeed sometime recently letter sets of particular letters speaking to different sounds in a particular dialect had been composed, people started capturing information utilizing visual images.

The Blombos Cave in South Africa is one of the primary instances. Archeologists there have revealed stones that they think are nearly 80,000 a long time ancient with crossed lines. In this case, we are not precisely what the lines stand for but certain representations of early human civilizations are utilized for the documentation of commercial exchanges utilizing so also named stones, shells, and clay. There is additionally solid reason to expect the lines in the Blombos cave are not simply unconstrained writes but have significance.



The revelation of typical pictures and occurrences for future generations that would reflect issues around the universe was a groundbreaking thought. Yeah, this was so innovative that it changed our minds.

Billions of related nerve cells called neurons dwell in our brains. These neurons have the exceptional capacity, based on what we utilize, to reorganize and shape modern ties. This phénomene is named “neural plasticity” by researchers.

Once people got to be able to memorize, they made unused neuronal systems in their brains, which empowered them to effortlessly recognize and decode complicated visual signals. You’ll be able to get it how necessary this process can be as you know how it felt to memorize to study as a youngster. Your reading capacities will rapidly be gotten to be so unconscious merely can’t study the words sometime recently you since you do not know how to make those odd marks on the paper.

Neuroscientists appear that we as it was actuating a little extent of the visual areas located on the back of our brain when individuals see at new, letter-like forms. But our brain’s action nearly triples when we see letters we know. Not as it were can it depend on more tactile locales, it also activates brain modules specialized in the verbal treatment, communication, and hypothetical ideas.

Some of the most current affiliations that first came into presence within the minds of our forerunners when they learned to decode were between a few areas of the brain called a precise gyrus (an introduction zone) and object-recognition locales. This neural development became the foundation for a couple of the main complex composing structures, which we can read about after chapters.


Chapter 2 – The capacity to track the sentiments and our ideas have been changed since the primary alphanumeric characters.


As we are cognizant, it has been made many times over history in different zones of the world.

Some of the Early Writing ‘s strongest learning methods are the Sumerian cuneiform, a written scheme of wedge-style symbols that look more like bird tracks and Egyptian hieroglyphs. We emerged in Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt entirely independently of each other about 3200 BCE.

Both programs have been introduced as governance and bookkeeping tools. To begin with, they were pictographic, which indicates their representations were roughly identical. For instance, the Egyptian house symbolic representation looks as even though it came from the over an old Egyptian hieroglyph for “house” – that the divine beings might see it. To interpret these pictures effortlessly, our brains required to create distinctive courses between sound-related and verbal associations – cognitive-communication locales – and the frontal projections where higher thought takes put.

Those two writing strategies have grown more nuanced and hypothetical over time. By the conclusion of Egypt, there had been about 700 to a few thousand pictographs. The figure was almost 400. Now, a few pictographs regularly delineated a phrase as well as the primary syllable. Such old scripts have taken many years to memorize since of this difficulty. This was some time recently the old Greeks discovered this writing may be as simple as ABC.

The antiquated Greeks, almost 750 BCE, worked out that their dialect may be broken down into a restricted number of sounds and a letter might show each tone. Possibly impacted by the Phoenicians’ consonant writing, they went a step forward. The Greek alphabetic strategy was the primary to depend exclusively on a restricted number of sound letters without combining them in images to speak to the words or syllables. This made it conceivable for Greeks to record talked dialects in its aggregate.

This framework had numerous preferences. To begin with, of all, letter sets are conservative; most of them utilize less than 26 letters to speak to all sounds in their dialect. This spares our brain vitality and exertion. It too comes with another advantage: alphabetic composing frameworks are less demanding and much faster to memorize than scripts with hundreds or thousands of distinctive characters.



Finally, the alphabetic framework permitted people to record talked word and implicit thought in all its complexity. It also permitted us to make novel intentions, never sometime recently verbalized. For the Greeks, this brought about in an unimaginably productive period of craftsmanship, culture, science, and legislative issues from around 700 BCE to 600 Advertisement – a period that, much obliged to the alphabetic framework, we will still study approximately nowadays in all its wonderfulness and complexity. This lead to a or maybe dynamic writing, music, science, and legislative issues period for the Greeks from 700 BCE to 600 AD – a time we still can learn almost nowadays in all its magnificence and perplexity much obliged to the alphabetism strategy. 


Chapter 3 – In a child’s development, the framework for reading is placed.


When most experts choose one thing to consider, it is that when it comes to your child’s instruction, there’s no such thing as “as well early.” Long sometime recently, the minds of children start preparing them for the overwhelming challenge of education, sometime recently they comprehend a single phrase.

The gadget required for the distinguishing proof of modest objects such as letters at the age of six months is presently totally functioning.

So children matured 18 months, for the most part, know that everybody of them has they possess character.



Within the early a long time that takes after, children’s recognition, consideration, and conceptual frameworks create at an unimaginable speed. That’s why perusing to children at this time can have such a noteworthy effect. After you examined to young children, they possess discourse too gets to be more advanced within the process.

Numerous studies have shown this effect. Two of them interviewed with the literacy scholar Victoria Purcell-Gates, a five-year-old who had been literacy for two years at least fifteen days a week. The children who were most frequently taught used longer sentences, complex grammar, and unique ‘literary’ words, such as ‘right on time,’ when talking about their 5th anniversary.

Tragically, the turn around impact is additionally well-documented. Children who come from language-impoverished homes, in which they were examined and talked to small, have now and then listen up to 32 million fewer words than their peers. As a result, they have an essentially littler lexicon and battle more with learning to read.

Furthermore, when children learn early on to put through the shapes on the page to words and stories, they have a less demanding time learning to study afterward in life. To begin with, children find that there can be a one-to-one correspondence between a sound and an image. At that point, they find that each letter contains a title, such as “p”, and sounds that it speaks to, such as “puh”. The brains of children who are frequently examined to start to put through their visual zones to the dialect regions long sometime recently any formal perusing education.

Yet that’s not all! Writing a small child’s tales of dragons, elves and princesses often help them to see the universe from another’s point of view and to understand others’ feelings. Readers teach us empathy, in other terms.

Here’s the take-off? Read to your child!


Chapter 4 – Children are passed from pre-readers to experts through five phases of reading creation.


Glenda Bissex writes several fun tales regarding the reading of her son. Once upon a time her five-year-old son was fascinated by reviewing her novel, slipped her a note reading the “RUDF” text. He naturally wrote “R-U-D-F” or “You are blind? “As she had not responded to her previous efforts.

When kids begin with gotten to be pre-readers as they start to associate letters and sounds, they reach the exceptionally, to begin with, the stage. Sometimes they make hilarious errors amid this point. They ‘re not as it were difficult to fault – it’s outlandish to discern which verses and sounds, but genuine verses can vary essentially when pronounced. In English, for the occasion, a vowel-like “e,” depending on the meaning, may speak to five partitioned sounds. 

Take the rows of a poem by Mark Twain on English language learning:

“Be aware of listening, a bad term like bear and sound like a crow. And dead; it’s like a pillow, not pin, do not mark it to deed for goodness sake! 

When infants are beginner learners, the second step of learning of literacy, where they use letters and have able to interpret basic terms and phrases. Their fundamental knowledge of the phonological, spelling and foundational concepts of a language is only starting to evolve.



Amateur perusers frequently move through a recognizable design of botches. To begin with, they wrongly studied words that make sense in setting but don’t take after the word that’s composed – like perusing “dad” rather than “father” since they anticipate a book or sentence to utilize this word. At that point, they wrongly studied orthographically comparative words, but don’t fit the setting – like perusing “horse” as “house,” a botch a grown-up peruser wouldn’t make. After their amateur peruser learning travel, they as it made blunders when words are comparable in orthography and setting – like perusing “bat” rather than “ball.”

Once they learn to maintain a strategic distance from these pitfalls, children enter the third arrange and get to be translating perusers. Presently, they can peruse words and sentences easily. The bigger their vocabulary, the speedier, and more familiar with their perusing. Rather than investing most of its vitality on disentangling letters, their brain can actuate zones related to meaning, apprehension, and remembrance. 

When perusing has gotten to be completely programmed and progressively includes higher levels of considering, the child has gotten to be a familiar, comprehending peruser – the fourth arrange.

The kid presently peruses so well that his brain has sufficient time to comprehend, induce, and indeed foresee the substance of a text. The child presently has got to millions of parallel universes through books and, because it sharpens and creates the aptitude of encountering the world through perusing, it at long last it comes to the fifth and final arrangements and gets to be a perusing expert.

But this last organize isn’t a level. As we’ll see within the following chapter, our perusing abilities never halt expanding. 


Chapter 5 – We don’t halt learning to read at all.


As children cross the move from tuning in to literacy professionals, they are searching for distinctive environments. By the constraints of their works, the enchanted domains of the Middle World, Narnia, and Hogwarts, in which none is because it appears, are as of now discussed. But there it doesn’t end. 

With their reading fluency increasing and their mindfulness of the universe-in fact, children are opening up increasingly highlights of the book. For the more compelling letter-decoding course on the cleared outside of the brain, the limbic locale – our brain enthusiastic field – is effectively dynamic within the reading preparation.

In this way, youthful readers learn to get it a contradiction, pointers, and distinctive focuses of see, and begin to put through what they’re reading to their possess stories, and to the world around them.

It takes such master readers less than half a moment to examine a word. And a parcel happens during that minor sum of time.

In the primary 100 milliseconds, our brain disengages from other cognitive exercises to direct its full consideration to the word. The visual framework takes within the personal letters and sends the data down specialized neuronal ways to other parts of our perusing memory. Our working memory holds the visual data in our brain for as long as required, whereas our affiliation memory recovers all the things it knows around the visual symbols.



In the following 100 milliseconds, our brain is active interfacing the letters to the sounds they speak to and drawing them together to make a significant word.

Lastly, within the following 300 milliseconds, our brain recovers all that it knows approximately that word: the meaning it has in setting, but moreover all its other conceivable implications, and any other information we might have almost the word.

The more we read, the speedier the decoding portion becomes, and the more time we need to lock in within the final portion of the perusing handle – considering approximately the word.

Naturally, as we mature, we carry the texts we read more knowledge and life experiences. Unless you are a knowledgeable reader, you have undoubtedly learned how rereading a book will alter your understanding of it entirely at a later point in your life.

As far as reading is concerned, we never quite knowing.


Chapter 6 – Dyslexia has numerous distinctive sorts and potential causes within the brain. 


These are the celebrated concepts of Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, and Albert Einstein? Everyone was dyslexic.

Einstein moreover talked almost his destitute memory for exposition, and recognized once that his theoretical thinking was centered on words “did not appear to require any part.”

Nevertheless, given the well-documented communication issues, Einstein has never been treated with dyslexia, as have Edison and Da Vinci. In 1870 German researcher Adolph Kussmaul to begin with a taken note the impossible to miss the state of the blindness of the word, although it took a whereas to be broadly accepted.

One clarification for the late discovery of dyslexia which is not however broadly known is since it has a few different types. The three most commonly known subtypes of English concentrate on troubles with mixing letters and sounds, concerns with familiar perusing, and concerns with writing. Though, almost 10% of people with address issues can not be satisfactorily classified beneath either of these groups.

Similarly, a few particular potential clarifications for brain dyslexia have proposed by looking at studies over the past century, a few of which are centered on each other.



Firstly, there’s an insufficiency of the fundamental framework of the brain, such as the tactile and sound-related processes. While inquiring about a French businessman named Monsieur X, Kussmaul recommended that the speculation. Mr. X misplaced his capacity to decipher after two strokes, which to begin with disabled his vision system and after that influenced the parcel of the brain that transmitted vision framework information to the dialect locales.

The next conceivable cause of dyslexia is a failure of the brain to attain the preparation speed required for perusing. Inquire about has appeared that, for dyslexic individuals, there appears to be a “gap in time” in communication between their visual, sound-related, and engine frameworks. For the case, dyslexics are for the most part slower at naming irregular colors and objects displayed to them.

They are moreover frequently a beat behind when inquired to tap out a cadence with their fingers. One reason for the slacks in communication can be a need for the association between the distinctive brain districts. Within the 19th century, neurologist Carl Wernicke depicted dyslexia as a “disconnection syndrome” that influenced either the visual-verbal or the visual-auditory systems.

Such potential issues incorporate various forms of decoding the dyslexic brain. Current brain inquires about appears why dyslexics tend to utilize a neural organization to some degree particular than those of non-dyslexic individuals. In the following chapter, we’ll see how the minds of dyslexics can change – and why that’s not fiendish. 


Chapter 7 – Persons with dyslexia can potentially have many abilities, not that their brain functions are special.


Notwithstanding how we talk about it, dyslexia does not necessarily imply a “reading disorder” since the human brain was never intended to learn in reality. As we discussed in the last essay, something that stops a dyslexic brain from reading must be triggered by shifts in its broader, more basic frameworks.

Yet how can dyslexics differentiate themselves from their other abilities?

Da Vinci, Edison, and Einstein weren’t the only dyslexic prodigies in history. There’s too Antonio Gaudi, the Spanish planner celebrated for his dreamlike, colorful buildings. At that point there’s pop craftsman Andy Warhol, performing artist Johnny Depp, and donor Charles Schwab, to title fair a few. 

Is it conceivable that the creative ability and development of these people derive from the same essential contrasts within the brain which trigger dyslexia?



No conclusive proof of this speculation exists to date, even though a few vital comes about the point in that direction.

Difficulty with co-ordinating the signals and mental disarranged on the one hand but frequently uncommon spatial and visual capacities on the other, pioneer neurologist Norman Geschwind, finding within the 1960s and 70s that dyslexia regularly is associated with impossible to miss inspiration and expression motivations. The clarification might be since dyslexics often symmetrically utilize their two brain hemispheres. For certain people within the cleared out half of the globe, the so-called Planum Zeitale, a region in which dialect is stored, is more noteworthy than within the west. Yet in dyslexics, on each side, the transient planum is the same scale. Dyslexics frequently show a variety of several other capacities for right brain circuits. 

The author has come to suspect that this right-brain dominance is why individuals with dyslexia appear to have an ability for bigger visual design acknowledgment. From her claim casual perception, she finds that dyslexics tend to float towards areas such as plan, radiology, or tall back, where a capacity to spot and translate bigger designs is important.

Though dyslexia could be a well-recognized condition today, we’re still not doing everything able to form beyond any doubt that dyslexics get the proper back to create their other aptitudes. Children with dyslexia are still regularly analyzed as well late or not at all and get cleared out behind by their peers and teachers. As a result, society might miss out on a few astonishing talents.

That’s why it’s basic that guardians and teachers pay consideration to a child’s potential perusing issues, and make beyond any doubt that they get quick, serious intercession to overcome them.


Chapter 8 – Reading abilities are a fundamental angle of we’ll do our most extreme best to secure our individual and social development.


Not everybody was satisfied approximately it when the ancient Greeks to begin with started publishing. The present-day development was rejected totally by popular scholar Socrates, who lived in old Greece around the clock. He was concerned that composting would resolute human feelings, mutilate our memories, and trap us into treating all recorded information as a matter of course. Ironically, the focuses that adversaries are raising regarding the Internet these days are about comparable.

What happens to our computer reading minds, since we have tremendous volumes of material in our hands and content is complex and advancing speedier than ever before? Can innovation unleash our brain’s entire modern features? And would it unlearn us the very aptitudes that driven to its creation?

Any justification for alarmism unnecessarily. Only keep in mind that Socrates was negative regarding publishing, and how emphatically his issues still show!

But the quantifiable decrease in consideration ranges, memory, and verbal SAT scores caution us that the better approach of perusing, brought approximately primarily by the web, might come at a taken a toll. As we move into a modern period, it won’t harm us to remind ourselves what we picked up from learning to examined – both as a species and as people – and attempt to carry those resources into the future.



Writing permitted us to protect talked word and implicit thought, and carry it over time and space. It permitted us to get to other people’s intentions and encounters in a better approach and discharged brain space utilized for memory to perform more complex cognitive operations. It got to be the premise for much of our mental and social advancement.

Time is maybe the foremost basic perspective of old-school reading we ought to protect. In our advanced age, time can appear like a rare asset. But time is what makes the difference between only understanding the fundamental meaning of content, and going past the content to put through it more personal with we possess thoughts, encounter, and knowledge. 

It’s our responsibility to form beyond any doubt that each child — whether dyslexic or not — is given the correct devices to open the mystery of reading and all its capable suggestions for mental and individual development.


Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain by Maryanne Wolf Book Review


To human creatures, reading is not a typical action. This took our race a long time to set up writing structures as we know them today and in arrange to memorize them, our minds required to involvement critical adjustments. But it’s continuously along, regularly challenging prepare for kids to learn to examined – particularly when they endure from dyslexia. Nevertheless, reading has the potential to convert our minds, conclusions, and society, and we can do anything we will to create beyond any doubt that everyone gets a chance to know.



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Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/106467014-sava-ate

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