Deep reading as contemplative practice has implications for a free and democratic society. Sven Birkerts gets the credit for coining the term “deep reading.” Deep reading is about slowing down and activating the power of narrative. Through the activation of mirror neurons, readers are transported to new situations. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang and others add to the growing body of scientific research that is developing an understanding of how mirror neurons help to activate deep reading and how reading happens in the brain. Deep reading has the unique capacity to teach human beings how best to create a narrative self, and, when coupled with focused conversation, how best to create a community for learning — a neighborhood where students and teachers can negotiate meaning together. Deep reading requires human beings to call upon and develop attentional skills to be thoughtful, fully aware, and to participate in a democratic society.

Maureen Hall

University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

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Robert Waxler

University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

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