How the Brain Learns to Read Susan Stevens May 25, 2012May 25, 2012 Below you’ll find an extremely simplified diagram of what happens in the brain when we learn to read. Adams, M. J. (2011). The relation between alphabetic basics, word recognition, and reading. In S. Samuels & A. Farstrup (Eds.), What research has to say about reading instruction (pp. 4-24).