Mapping One’s Thinking

One other strategy, for students reading in a common text, is to allow them to map their thinking about specific sections of the text.

Executive functioning is well managed through the use of chunking a text into manageable parts, discussing the essential information in that section of the book, and then moving to read (and discuss) the next section.

Trying to discuss a whole text makes remembering everything important cumbersome. It can also overwhelm the student who is trying to organize all of the information into its appropriate categories.

Students need to receive feedback about what is important and what is just interesting at shorter intervals. This seventh-grade advanced reader with ASD was able to map out his thinking about The Giver (1993).


The teacher, Mrs. Stephanie Klansek, gives the class a reading focus. She then provides space for students to list “key events, big ideas, important quotes” (which have been identified, taught, and modeled from early on in the school year with other common texts).

Then, Mrs. Klansek encourages students to record “My thoughts and ideas.” The student used a combination of sketches, writing, and quotes to record his thinking. He also records questions he has.

All of this evidence of reading is brought to the discussion of this section of the book. More notes can be made during the discussion, or after, if time to process is needed.

This format supports this student’s making connections between other sections of the text through visual and written notes. These notes allowed him to notice recurring notes and patterns as he was reading.

If larger understandings were still eluding him, the teacher had a document of the student’s thought processes to use during a reading conference, to guide the student to make those necessary connections, to solidify comprehension.

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