"Learning is a matter of sifting, sorting, ingesting, and then digesting the most important morsels."~ Maya Angelou
For many years it was believed that the brain functioned like a sponge. Good learning meant absorption. Trying to remember and soak up everything was the goal. (Remember those college highlighters?!?)
We now know that our brains act more like a filter or sieve. As information is input into the brain, we sift and sort for importance. This concept can be demonstrated with simple beach toy. Just like looking for treasures on the beach, we sift through shells and creatures just to catch the right one. We make a decision on how much we are willing to sift through, what we are looking for, and finally what we are going to take away from the process.
Our brains function in this same way as information is processed. Good readers determine what they are reading, why they are reading it, and what they choose to take away and keep for later use. Determining importance is an active process requiring thought and effort on the part of the reader.
How do you model this critical reading and thinking strategy to students? How do you sift and sort as you make conscious decisions about which morsels are most important for you?