BCSC 262: Understanding Reading

Cross-listed: LING 263
Prerequisites: BCSC 111 or LING 110
Offered: Spring

Reading is one of the most complex and remarkable human skills. During the last forty years our knowledge about reading has dramatically increased, largely due to advances in our understanding of natural language and how it is processed, human cognition, and brain functioning. This course examines how people read, drawing on ideas from the cognitive sciences, including linguistics, cognitive psychology, and cognitive neuroscience. We will explore questions such as: (a) what are writing systems and what aspects of language do they represent? (b) what are our eyes doing when we read? (c) what parts of the brain are involved in reading and what are they doing? (d) what factors underlie developmental difficulties in reading? and (e) how does brain damage affect reading? The primary reading will be a book by Mark Seidenberg, "Language at the speed off sight: How we read, why so many can't and what can be done about it" ; Basic Books, 2017. Supplementary reading will come be drawn from primary source material.