My reading and writing experiences have been extremely varied throughout my educational career. During grade school, my teachers would allow us to pick our own topics to read or write. This gave me a lot of opportunities to strengthen my reading and writing abilities since my topic was something I was interested and could relate to. However, high school was a serious disappointment. The skills I learned in grade school were not needed, so I guess I forgot or lost them. Then college changed everything. I now had readings and writings due that I could not just make up or skim. I actually had to use my brain for once. With this reemergence of serious assignments, I had to relearn all of those techniques I used in grade school. Now I can clearly see how I function while reading or writing.
I would say that the most useful skill I have picked up is the writing of notes. For me, I occasionally get bored with reading or writing. With note-taking I may still get bored, but I am forced by myself to reread and jot down the ideas hidden in the text. This way I am not only self-regulating and self-monitoring, but I am also learning what I am supposed to from the assignments. I can then reread my notes at any time to reflect or remind myself of what was written and what it means to me. Check out my notebooks. They are filled with reading notes, class discussion notes, and personal notes to keep me in balance.
Another thing that I do to organize my own thinking is create mental images. I am rely heavily on my photographic memory. It is definitely my most used memory skill. Hence when I am reading or writing, I understand that I must draw a picture in my mind of what's going on. If I pay attention to this image, then I am absolutely positive that piece of information will be remembered. Especially when I read, this skill is so helpful. I can construct a scene and then put myself in the writing. I become a character in the story in my own mind. This creates a greater connection and understanding to the literature.
Finally, I find that I organize my thoughts by relating them to past experiences or knowledge. If a read an article or story, I always try to connect it to my own life. With writing, I only expand upon topics that I know or can explain. It is with this relation that I develop a deeper understanding of the words on the page. I suppose that this is a skill that many readers depend on. It makes sense considering that we understand things that we experience or are interested in. There is a certain motivation involved in these relatable topics as well.
This reflection has only strengthen my confidence in my own reading and writing skills. It is important that we understand how we function as teachers, so that we can apply this knowlegde and understand how our students may funciton.