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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Maryanne Wolf, Director of the Center for Dyslexia and Diverse Learners at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, and the author of Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World. They discuss American K-12 education’s approach to reading instruction, and how we can increase students’ enjoyment of reading for its own sake, as well as their performance on national assessments. She reviews the findings from her 2007 book, Proust and the Squid, on how reading shapes and transforms our knowledge and emotions. They delve into how technology is changing our attention spans and ability to digest and understand more demanding books and ideas, and the negative impact of smart phones, screens, and multi-media on the brains of young people. She differentiates between acquiring knowledge through the printed or written word and digitally, and how educators and parents should think carefully and constructively about the use of technology in schools and at home. The interview concludes with Dr. Wolf reading a favorite passage from Reader, Come Home.
Stories of the Week: How did the pandemic school shutdowns affect the seven million students in America who did not receive special education services – and what can we do about it? Schoolchildren in Florida are suffering from learning loss as a result of school closures in the wake of the tragic, category-four Hurricane Ian. Can we better prepare for school shutdowns after natural disasters?