December 6, 2016

Olson on Reading, Consciousness, and Rationality: A New Book from Cambridge University Press

David R. Olson, University of Toronto, has published The Mind on Paper: Reading, Consciousness and Rationality (Cambridge University Press, 2016). Here is a description, from the publisher's website, of the book's contents.
Although the importance of literacy is widely acknowledged in society and remains at the top of the political agenda, writing has been slow to establish a place in the cognitive sciences. Olson argues that to understand the cognitive implications of literacy, it is necessary to see reading and writing as providing access to and consciousness of aspects of language, such as phonemes, words and sentences, that are implicit and unconscious in speech. Reading and writing create a system of metarepresentational concepts that bring those features of language into consciousness as a subject of discourse. This consciousness of language is essential not only to acquiring literacy but also to the formation of systematic thought and rationality. The Mind on Paper is a compelling exploration of what literacy does for our speech and hence for our thought, and will be of interest to readers in developmental psychology, cognitive science, linguistics, and education.

Presents a general theory of how reading and writing invite a new and distinctive consciousness of language

Finds a significant place for writing in the cognitive and educational sciences

Shows that the 'reading wars' can be resolved by a better understanding of the role of metarepresentational knowledge in reading and learning to read

The Mind on Paper 

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