Traditionally, teachers have believed that doodling was a frivolous activity that proved a student was disengaged from the learning process.
While research does quality itself by declaring, "doodling seems to be relaxing or simply entertaining" (Schott, 2011, p.1134), it also stipulates that research is telling us something different.
G.D. Schott (2011) writes in the article The art of Medicine: Doodling and the default network of the brain, that "when an individual doodles, the brain may...be highly creative, being occupied, for example, in solving mathematical problems, or generating ideas for new works in literature, art, or design" (p. 1134).
The way I understand this is that doodling is not a passive activity or the equivalent of mind dumping mindless garbage that has been stored there. But rather, doodling is a stimulating process and assists in triggering neurons in the brain to higher-order thoughts, specifically creative ideas and even solving mathematical problems.
Because doodling supports higher-order thinking, we can conclude that there is active brain involvement when doodling.
So how does this relate to my Doodle It Novels?
There are three kinds of students when it comes to reading. (1) Students who like to read and will read everything, (2) Students who can read but don’t actually like to do it because they find it boring, and (3) Students who struggle with reading and find every opportunity to escape expectations related to reading.
Doodle It Novels are specifically geared to the first two types of readers. Students who like to read will remember more of what they read if they actively draw their own doodles or illustrations related to what they are reading. Many of these kinds of readers participate in school or district-wide competitions, such as Battle of the Books, and doodling will only assist them in remember specific details about what they have read.
The second group of readers are the ones that can read, but don’t because they haven’t yet been gripped by a story. Often these readers have varying degrees of attention deficit and cannot focus on what they are reading long enough to get something out of it. Thus, Doodle It Novels, seek to engage these readers. The doodle space builds in brain breaks where instead of just taking in information, the reader is also applying that information to an illustration and by so doing, are stimulating their own higher-order thoughts.
These students will be more engaged with the reading process and subsequently, become more enthralled with the story, ultimately developing their love for it.
Schott explains that “doodling is a motor act, and when occurring under conditions such as impatience, boredom, and indecision, it seems to alleviate those conditions” (p. 1134). What more can we hope for our young readers?
Schott, G.D. (2011). The art of medicine: Doodling and the default network of the brain. The
Lancet September 24, 2011. pp. 1133-1134.