My thoughts are rarely ever organized well. Even when I am retelling a story to friends, my thoughts are all jumbled. When I read, I really have to pay attention. In order to get anything out of reading, I have to be consciously thinking about what I’m reading. To do this, I usually highlight what I think is important. Then I write to the side what that means. I also have to think about it in my own words.
Even though I hated writing things in my own words when I was in school, I would have my students do that. I think having kids summarize in their own words after almost everything that they read because it really will help them to understand what they read. Plus they will be held responsible for active reading if they know that they will have to summarize what they just read. Also they will have a written record in case they forget by the next day what they read.
Writing is another story. Usually when I write, I will start to write what I am thinking. If I switch to a different subject, I will start a new paragraph. Then I go back and add information to the paragraphs and I reorganize it.
When I teach writing organization, I would teach students to plan their paragraphs out before they write. Once they have that planned out, it will be easier to organize what they are going to say. They will know what each paragraph is about and what they want to talk about in the paper they are going to write. Even though I don’t do it anymore, I think that drawing webs really help to prepare a paper. It helps to figure out the main ideas, things that need to be included, and even some details that you would like to include. We had to do this when I was in school, and it really helped me. I should probably still do this today, but I don’t anymore.
I would love to learn more strategies to organize thoughts. I am not very good at it but it is something that I think is important. I would like to help my students become great at organizing their thoughts. It is so important for reading comprehension and writing. I hope that I can stress to my students how important it is so that they want to learn strategies that will help them in the future.