Can you forget how to read?

Can you forget how to Read?

Reading has become an absolute necessity in our society, with people who are unable to read and write classified as illiterates and contrary to some beliefs, reading and writing are not natural abilities that certain children are born with that eventually stick with them all through their lives.

Although, in itself, reading is a very complicated process, the ability to read is often taught to children in several interesting and fun ways to help them master the process of reading and stick to it all through their lives.

True mastery of the act of reading doesn’t come till much later in the teen years. For most people, after overcoming that initial barrier of not being able to read, reading becomes a smooth sailing throughout the rest of their journey.

Some people believe isolation from anything that will require you to read or stimulate your brain for a very long time, might make you lose your ability to read. There is no concrete scientific backing to support this hypothesis, and it has remained just a thought. Unless you have been diagnosed with Alexia

Forgetting to read from Alexia (Medical Condition)

However, the most common scientifically proven way a person can lose the ability to accurately read is by a condition known as Alexia. In Alexia, damage to the brain can prevent previously literate Adults from being able to read properly.

When a person is diagnosed with pure Alexia, they lose the ability to read fluently as a result of severe injuries to specific areas located in the left hemisphere of the brain. Interestingly, patients with Alexia may still be able to walk, talk, think or in some cases, write. They are just not able to read. In some cases, patients lose their ability to recognize words and letters completely. Also common is a situation where patients may be able to identify single letters and may spell their way to pronouncing words.

For good readers, amalgamating a couple of letters into words is a seemingly effortless and automatic task that you can perform without any difficulty. In fact, it may actually be more difficult to try and focus on a single letter embedded within a word than the entire word itself.

How Does Reading Work In The Brain?

The process of becoming an accomplished reader takes time. Being able to read now, fast and smoothly, you almost never remember the difficulty it took to be able to peruse through your first page, and as such you don’t realize the effect of reading on the brain.

As intricate as reading is, we are able to study key areas and important learning centres in the brain to pinpoint the neural pathways and areas the brain uses for reading, all thanks to modern technology and advancements in neuroscience. Now, not only are we able to discern why good readers are able to read well and poor readers struggle with reading, we also are able to help any kind of reader through their difficult journey of understanding words, reading and comprehending. All this happens in the brain.

From the first sounds made when a baby comes out of the womb, the learning of language and communication skill, which includes reading, begins. As the baby grows, continuously hearing words and speeches, the brain is conditioned to learn the rules associated with learning and by extension, reading. Once the child has been able to master language and reading, all the parts of the brain work together to achieve perfect cohesion.

The Temporal Lobe

This part of the brain is in charge of phonological awareness and the Decoding or differentiation of sounds and sound patterns.

The Frontal Lobe

This part of the brain is in charge of speech production, grammatical usage, reading fluency and comprehension of what has been read. This makes it possible for you to comprehend simple and complex grammar in the language native to you.

The Angular and Supramarginal Gyrus

You know how the brain integrates everything you have read by linking the different important parts of the brain together to carry out the action of reading? This is the part that helps the brain accomplish that.For example, when looking at the letters S, A, N and D, it is this part of the brain that put these letters together to form the word “sand”.

Can you ever really forget something?

We all have had that particularly unpleasant experience where we try to remember a particular event, a unique detail or specific information from a conversation with a friend, and no matter how hard we try, we just can’t seem to remember. Is that piece of information truly lost? Fortunately, if you fall into this category and you find it difficult to remember certain details, there is hope. No information is ever truly lost, it is just hidden from your conscious mind, and it can be recovered.

Researchers are still unclear as to what happens when there is an inability to remember certain details. Whether it is hidden deep in the unconscious mind, or at the surface, albeit remaining in the dark as though you’re getting crazy.

There is also the case of trying to purposely forget a bad or embarrassing memory. Although the brain cannot eliminate pieces of information completely, it is possible to block these memories from your conscious mind and as a result create the feeling of forgetting those memories. One of the ways you can suppress any unwanted memory or completely pull it out from your consciousness is by utilizing a section of the brain that is referred to as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in order to limit the activity of the hippocampus. The hippocampus is absolutely crucial in remembering past events.

Another way of achieving this suppression of bad or embarrassing memory is by redirecting or refocusing the consciousness away from that memory and towards an alternative happy memory.

Can you forget how to read and write?

Many victims of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) often struggle with difficulties with reading and writing. Most people that were once good readers become disinterested in reading and writing altogether because of how difficult it becomes. There are several ways in which a traumatic brain injury can affect your ability to read and write, some of them include;

  • Being unable to properly understand the text.
  • Inability to read and write the text.
  • Reading and writing induces a severe headache or makes you feel sick.
  • Even if you’re able to read and write, you can’t do so past a few lines without forgetting what you had previously read.
  • Inability to focus attention on a separate, distinct line of text.
  • Experiencing great physical and mental fatigue after reading and writing.

However, there is a silver lining. Although recovering your past reading and writing skills might not be possible, with the help of special training, you can strategically improve your current ability to read and write and remember the details of what you have previously read, with the help of several technological inventions like the Dictaphone/Dictation Machine that can help you record and replay what you read to help you remember smoothly.

How long would it take to forget how to read?

Surprising, the process of forgetting how to read, where possible, is much more difficult than the process of learning to read. It largely depends on the age you learnt how to read and the teacher. If you began learning how to read, no matter how basic, from age 2 or 3, you can never truly “forget how to read”. Like so many other abilities learned at that age, you cannot simply lose the ability to carry out the action.

Conversely, it is important to note that the process of reading can become hazy after a very long period of not reading, but no sooner you look at a book, your eyes will begin darting from one end to the other and you will know what to do and how.

Even in extreme cases of memory loss like Amnesia, in which people suffer from traumatic events, procedural memories like reading, walking or lifting a chair would still be available to you as a result of the information still lodged in a part of their brain.

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