Literacy 7-12

Systems Change

Factor Connections

Hover to see how factors connect to Attention. Then click connected factors to explore strategies related to multiple factors.

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.

Main Ideas

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:

  • Sustained Attention, the ability to maintain focus, is an important component for literacy success because it can help students attend to classroom instruction and to the material they are reading or writing.
  • Selective Attention is being able to select and focus on relevant information, both visual and auditory, while filtering out other distracting information. Speed and efficiency in using selective Attention develops through adolescence.
  • Alternating Attention allows a student to switch focus between tasks and is essential for Cognitive Flexibility.
  • Divided Attention, or multi-tasking, refers to attending to multiple tasks at once.

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.

Learn More

  • Attention: A free microcredential to support students' attention
  • Executive Function: A paid microcredential to support students' executive functioning skills
  • Inhibition: A free microcredential to identify and support students' inhibition

View Measures and References