SharpReading BLOG

Thoughts About Teaching Reading


How much cognitive energy do you have?

Here's a pet theory I have about being a learner. We all come to any learning task with a fixed amount of cognitive energy.

This is determined by a range of factors; perceived importance or personal interest in the learning, previous success or failure (and of course all the basics requirements of sleep, food, general wellbeing). 
For some students the amount of cognitive energy they bring is VERY small.
If we, the teacher, talk for 60% of the guided reading lesson (my data suggests this is fairly typical), our instructions and explanations very quickly gobble up that available reservoir and they are done!
I would rather that this cognitive energy be used by the learner to interact with the actual text. I want there to be time and space for the brain to habituate the strategies that have already been taught, not used up by my talk. That's what SharpReading routines are designed to do.

The funny thing is, that when you can get them to use their cognitive energy this way, they can tap into hidden reservoirs. They find more! They come alive and start willingly invest in the learning in front of them.

Find out how we generate cognitive energy in the learner!


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