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Automatic (Part 1)

A task is “automatic” when you can do it without conscious effort. For reading, the ability to automatically recognize or decode words allows you to identify the words quickly and effortlessly, so you’ll have enough conscious processing space (or working memory) left over to comprehend and think about what you’re reading.  

Automaticity is built using brain systems that involve many areas outside the cerebral cortex, or the part of the so-called higher brain that we use for most conscious processing and thinking. These lower-level systems support the kinds of reflex-like responses that help us automatically recognize when something is familiar or not, or help us perform complex procedures like tying our shoes, driving a car, playing an instrument, or decoding or spelling.

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