At the beginning of every semester my students and I talk about what we do when we read — what happens in our brains, what happens in our hearts and what happens with our eyes. It’s this last topic of conversation that trips them out the most.
Today I finished What We See When We Read and I wanted to share this particular photo with them because it made me think about our first conversations.
The reason they were tripped out by what we do with our eyes: they’re taught that we read from right to left, so when we read, that’s what our eyes are supposed to be doing. If we’re not moving our eyes from left to right, then we’re doing something wrong and we’re not good readers.
And then I showed them a video of the eye movement of a first or second grader.* They watched his eyes, and we talked about how his eyes showed us that he was using a myriad of reading strategies to help himself understand his reading. At the end of the conversation, their perceptions of what we do when we read to help ourselves make sense of the text changed. And that was very exciting. I wish we’d been blogging at that time (we will be next semester) so they could have recorded those thoughts.
And last but not least, here’s my sticky note review:
*For more of Peter Duckett’s research on eye movement, click here.