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Attention is the ability to focus on a specific task without being distracted. Attention helps students become better readers and writers because we all perform best when we focus on and thoughtfully practice our developing skills.
Attention is often defined by the type of stimuli being focused on and how it is processed: while Visual Attention refers to focusing on information you see, Auditory Attention refers to focusing on information you hear. In addition, there are different sub-types of visual and auditory Attention, and individuals may show stronger or weaker abilities among these types of Attention, including:
Attending to two or more media activities at once, or media multi-tasking, is becoming more common with the increase in technology, especially in adolescents. Though research is limited, findings suggest that adolescents who report having difficulty with Attention may multi-task more often. In addition, more frequent media multi-tasking in early adolescence may lead to increased Attention problems.
Physically acting out a text or enacting major themes from texts enhances reading comprehension, particularly as texts become more complex.
Advance graphic organizers link prior knowledge to upcoming learning to help students anticipate and understand the structure of new information.
When annotating, students engage deeply with a text and make their thinking visible while reading.
Audiobooks allow students to hear fluent reading and experience books above their reading skills.
When adolescents can connect and communicate with authentic audiences about their interests and values, reading and writing become more personally meaningful and relevant.
Students practice making and finding meaning in texts through book discussions moderated by teachers to varying degrees.
Content that is provided in clear, short chunks can support students' Working Memory and ensure students are directing their Attention to the relevant information.
Checklists and rubrics help students understand expectations as they navigate more complex tasks and assignments.
When peers are able to work together to plan, draft, edit, and revise during the Composition process, their writing quality improves.
For adolescent learners, the Composition process can become more robust, as learners begin to express ideas through multiple media, which includes visual, audio, and digital production.
When students express information visually, they are activating more cognitive processes while problem solving and increasing their experience with alternate texts.
Daily review strengthens previous learning and can lead to fluent recall of information and application of skills.
When preparing for and debating with peers, students analyze, form, and express verbal arguments, fostering their critical thinking and literacy skills.
Dictation can allow students with transcription difficulties to still participate in the writing process and generate ideas.
Exposure to natural light is beneficial to the students' health and can increase their alertness and Attention.
As part of a varied curriculum, explicit instruction in reading comprehension strategies from teachers can help older students use strategies meaningfully and flexibly.
Seeing and using new words repeatedly and in many contexts is critical for Vocabulary acquisition.
Research shows that, along with traditional reading comprehension strategies, students use unique strategies to read the non-linear, hyperlinked structure of online texts.
Explicitly teaching strategies for planning, writing, and revising texts improves students' writing quality.
Interpreting and composing discipline-specific texts requires tailoring literacy strategies, like annotating or asking questions, to the disciplinary goals and practices.
Teaching students how to systematically evaluate sources prepares them to navigate in an increasingly complex, digital world.
During reading, giving students the opportunity to explain their thinking process aloud allows them to recognize the strategies they use, solidify their comprehension, and move knowledge into their Long-term Memory.
Providing constructive feedback supports students' writing development by letting them know how to improve their writing.
Visiting places connected to classroom learning provides opportunities to deepen understanding through firsthand experiences.
As students move through multimodal stations pertaining to a particular unit, the social and physical nature of the activity supports deeper understanding.
Games help students practice their literacy skills in a fun, applied context.
Adding gestures and motions to complement learning activates more cognitive processes for recall and understanding, particularly within content area instruction.
Setting overall goals with actionable steps for achievement can help students feel more confident in their skills and abilities.
Visualizing how ideas fit together helps students construct meaning and strengthens their recall.
During guided inquiry, teachers foster student autonomy by designing lessons centered on meaningful questions in which students locate, analyze, and present relevant information on their own or in small groups.
Opportunities for students to practice skills in context, with teacher support and also independently, helps to move concepts and ideas into Long-term Memory.
Independent reading promotes literacy by emphasizing student choice with teacher support in selecting books, as well as setting the expectations that everyone is a reader.
Having private or semi-private spaces where students can go to support Self-regulation and individual deliberate practice.
As students work with and process information by discussing, organizing, and sharing it together, they deepen their understanding.
Journaling allows students to reflect on their thinking and feelings, process their learning, and connect new information to what they know.
Through short but regular mindfulness activities, students develop their awareness and ability to focus.
Short breaks that include mindfulness quiet the brain to allow for improved thinking and emotional regulation.
Creating student-driven, flexible learning spaces involves setting up the classroom to support the desired learning outcomes for each activity.
By talking through their thinking at each step of a process, teachers can model what learning looks like.
Brain breaks that include movement allow learners to refresh their thinking and focus on learning new information.
Instruction in multiple formats allows students to activate different cognitive skills and Background Knowledge that are necessary to remember procedural and content information.
Multiple display spaces promote collaboration by allowing groups to share information easily as they work.
Providing multiple texts on the same topic or theme allows students to interact with multiple perspectives and develop their critical thinking skills.
Multiple writing surfaces promote collaboration by allowing groups to share information easily as they work.
Connecting information to music and dance moves enhances Short-term and Long-term Memory by drawing on auditory processes and the cognitive benefits of physical activity.
When students provide constructive feedback on each other's work, they learn to give relevant suggestions, receive specific ways to improve their writing, and engage in Metacognition.
Having students teach their knowledge, skills, and understanding to their classmates strengthens learning and increases Motivation.
Using visual aids, such as pictures, diagrams, and charts, allows for additional processing time and supports learners by breaking down content and skills into more manageable parts.
When teachers ask questions or have students create questions before introducing a text, they activate student interest and help them assess what they already know about a given topic.
Maintaining consistent routines, structures, and supports ensures that students are able to trust and predict what will happen next.
When students write from a non-dominant or marginalized perspective, they consider and give voice to points of view that are often missing.
Providing guiding prompts and questions for students to use when reading or participating in discussions deepens their understanding of texts and gives them space to question and grapple with issues of power, justice, and equity.
When teachers provide students with model texts for their writing, they learn to identify effective elements to incorporate into their own writing.
Decreasing extra audio input provides a focused learning environment.
Reading aloud to adolescents models Reading Fluency as texts become more complex and disciplinary in nature and therefore, more difficult to understand.
Using texts to discuss complex emotions and perspectives with students can help them see how they influence behavior and draw their own personal connections.
Teachers can provide individualized support through one-on-one conferences to assess reading comprehension, understanding of content, and spark further interest in reading.
When students explain to others, they deepen their understanding and gain confidence in their learning.
Student reflection on learning, particularly when done collaboratively, is critical for moving knowledge of content and strategies into Long-term Memory.
Students build their confidence, strategy use, and comprehension by reading and rereading multiple texts.
Response devices boost engagement by encouraging all students to answer every question.
When students engage in a dialogue with themselves, they are able to orient, organize, and focus their thinking.
When students monitor their comprehension, performance, and use of strategies when reading and writing, they build their Metacognition and actively participate in the reading process.
Sentence frames or stems provide language support for students' writing and participation in academic discussions.
Providing ways for students to adjust sound level supports individual auditory needs.
Using earplugs or headphones can increase focus and comfort.
Giving students voice and choice in their learning is critical for making learning meaningful and relevant to them.
Providing ways for students to meet their individual temperature needs supports Attention and Self-regulation.
Bringing students' every day literacy practice of texting into the classroom provides regular, low-stakes practice communicating with authentic audiences.
Transforming written text into audio supports learning by activating different parts of a learner's brain for comprehension.
Think-pair-share encourages meaningful student discussion by allowing for extra processing time and multiple shares.
Spaces that are structured, organized, and clean provide increased room for collaboration and active learning.
Having students verbally repeat information such as instructions ensures they have heard the information and supports remembering, particularly for those students who struggle with Attention.
Providing visuals to introduce, support, or review instruction activates more cognitive processes to support learning.
Visual supports, like text magnification, colored overlays, and text manipulation, help students focus and properly track as they read.
Word sorts are multisensory activities that help learners identify patterns and group words based on different categories while promoting Vocabulary development.
Writing conferences allow students to fully immerse, share, reflect, and receive feedback during the writing process, promoting Motivation for continuing the sometimes lengthy revision process that occurs in the upper grades.
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