Did I get distracted or let my mind wander?


When teaching children to use the Dr. Goodreader chart, our end goal is for them to use it enough that they internalize the information and eventually have an automatic checklist they use when they read for the rest of their lives.  Dr. Goodreader works for all readers.

After we ask the initial question, “Does this make sense?” if the answer is no, the next question to ask ourselves is, “Did I get distracted or let my mind wander?”  Children need to be taught how to deal with distractions in every setting.  I tell them that when I was reading last night, I found that I hadn’t understood a word for pages because my mind had wandered off to think about the day’s events.  My eyes were going across the words, but my brain was not actively engaged in my book.  Most students are nodding in recognition at this point!

There are many ways to avoid distractions, but it is difficult to create a perfect world in which to read.  So, our goal is to train ourselves to focus, no matter what happens.  To be so into the book that you have to be dragged out of Bookworld into reality.

In the classroom, we move from naming distractions, to brainstorming ways to surmount them, to learning to read deeply.  Some students my squirrel themselves away under tables or in corners to avoid the distraction of their fellow students.  By the end of the year, it’s difficult to drag them out of their books.  The room often stays completely silent when I announce that it’s time to jot down their reading in their reading journals.  Oh, the silence of success!

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