But do we actually scan the written word silently? Recent neurological research questions whether silent reading actually is silent. Evidence grows that the brain interprets “silent” reading as an auditory phenomenon.
Our ancestors most likely read aloud, in public, rather than quietly to themselves in the home. Reading was a way to foster debate and discussion, posits John Biguenet at The New Republic. In the past few hundred years, as books became ubiquitous, the practice morphed into what we have today: a primarily private experience of reading.