The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Summer Reading IV: Smart But Scattered

One of the books that has been on my To Read pile for over two years now is Smart But Scattered by  Peg Dawson and Richard Guare. The focus of the book is on teaching children to develop executive skills to

  • get organized
  • resist impulses
  • stay focused
  • use time wisely
  • plan ahead
  • follow through on tasks
  • learn from mistakes
  • control emotions
  • solve problems
  • be resourceful

It is a bit of a hefty academic work, with over 300 pages. However, there is a large section of the book that contains sample forms, worksheets, and charts that parents and teachers can use to help children track their executive skills. The book is laid out in a fairly logical order, explaining what executive skills are (the ability to execute, or carry out, an action), how to identify strengths and weaknesses in yourself and then in your child/student, and then it wraps up with practical tips for each of the skills listed above.

This was a book that I skimmed rather than read word-for-word. Many of the concepts are things that have been discussed at great length in a variety of professional settings that I’ve found myself in over the past two years. It was a good review of why executive skills are so critical to students’ success, and an excellent reminder that, as a teacher, I need to do all I can to teach these skills before I hold my students accountable for applying them!


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