Posts Tagged ‘reading comprehension’

“Ask me anything.” – Doc Meek

Thursday, August 12, 2010. Today I am grateful that I have had more than thirty (30) years of great experience with almost all aspects of education and learning. They call me the “the brain guy.” – Doc Meek

People are always asking me questions about teaching, learning, and how the brain operates. And how the school systems operate.

I am delighted to answer any and all questions! 😮

So this is an open invitation to all of you who are parents, teachers, students, or educational administrators:

“Ask me anything”

I learned that phrase from my internet mentor, Connie Ragen Green. She teaches people how to be a business success on the internet, like she is. She is a great teacher/learner. Kind, considerate, and patiently able to explain answers to all questions, including the “dumb questions” people are almost afraid to ask. That’s Connie.

“There are no dumb questions, ” Connie says, and she practices what she preaches. And she keeps learning. She never stops learning. I think that is one reason she is such a good teacher. She is a good student as well. Thank you Connie! I am grateful for your example.

Same invitation from Doc: “Ask me anything.”

“Ask me anything about education, training, the brain, the mind, behavior, emotion, teaching, teacher training, student learning problems, and so on.”

I have had extensive training and experience with almost all aspects of education and learning, including the administrative and financial aspects. (See my Qualifications Brief by clicking on the date of July 15, 2010, on the calendar on the right-hand side of the screen when you first visit THE LEARNING CLINIC WORLDWIDE blog at

There is almost nothing about education, learning or the brain that you can ask me, about which I have not had some degree of familiarity.

You can ask me with confidence and I will respond with both knowlege and compassion. If I don’t know the answer I will find it for you.

And even a little humor may go a long way, eh?

Years ago, a Calgary magazine reported:

“Dr. Meek brings a unique blend of warmth, intelligence and humor to everything he does.” Thank you, Calgary!

If you have any questions or comments, just click on the little blue word “comments” at the bottom right-hand side of this article, and a form will appear that you can use to ask any question you wish.

Doc Meek, Thursday, August 12, 2010, at Nose Hill Public Library in Calgary, Alberta, CANADA.


J. Collins Meek, Ph.D. (Doc Meek)
“What if you are smarter than you think?”
Learning Specialist

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USA: 3688 W 9800 S, #138, South Jordan, UT 84095


A learning brain learns best with color, movement, and gentle learning music

Picture from: ………………………………………………………………………………

I just published my first article for today (Saturday, June 12, 2010, in the morning), entitled: “Brains love movement & ‘take-a-break’ music (and maybe even a power nap?). If you wish to review that article, simple click on the title immediately below:

Brains love movement and “take-a-break” music (plus . . . maybe even a power nap?)

Someone reminded me that that is true for working brains. They do need a break from working and learning.

What about a learning brain in the very act of learning?

Herewith, my second article for today (Saturday, June 12, 2010, in the afternoon), entitled: “A learning brain learns best with color, movement, and gentle music.”

A brain that is actually in the process of learning–a learning brain–also likes movement, even while engaged in the very act of learning. Complex as the brain is, it still loves the simple things (color, movement, and gentle music), to help it learn more easily and remember better, stronger, longer.

What do you mean by color?

If you study and learn using pastel-colored paper with regular pens and pencils, or using multi-colored pens or pencils on regular white paper, you engage a part of the mind that loves color and enhances learning. Working on a blackboard at school (if it is colored green, as most are nowadays), with or without colored chalk, also stimulates the brain for most efficient learning.

Teacher Helping Student at Blackboard -  <i>bonniej</i>

Teacher Helping Student at Blackboard – bonniej; image from the following website: ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….
What do you mean by movement?

If you can find ways to move your body while learning or studying, you will jump ahead of the class. 😮 An example at home might be jumping on a rebounder (mini-trampoline) while memorizing something you may have found not easy to memorize before. An example from the classroom might be squeezing a small soft sponge ball in your left hand while writing with your right hand (or vice versa if you are left-handed), which engages a part of your brain that loves physical movement and will help you learn better if you move part of your body in some way. Even chewing gum is helpful, although most teachers prefer this to be done at home. 😮

What do you mean by gentle music?

Not rock. That will just make your body want to move, while nullifying your thinking brain. 😮

The learning brain loves music that is swinging low and easy, about one beat per second or 60 beats to the minute, sometimes called “baroque” music. This engages a part of the brain that amplifies learning. Hey, you zing to the head of the class.

“Uprightness” is also needed for most efficient learning

This is a good topic for a future article. [See P.S. below for future article.]

Blessings and Friendship,

Doc Meek, Saturday, June 12, 2010 (2nd post, in the afternoon)

At Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA; not at South Jordan, Utah, USA

P.S. Click on the title below for this future article, published Thursday, June 24, 2010:

The learning brain needs “uprightness” for greatest efficiency

“Reading . . . worth mastering forever.” – Doc Meek

“I’ve always loved reading.” – Doc Meek

I found that reading takes me into realms of knowledge about people, places and things . . .  and everything! I can soar to the moon and on to the cosmos, plummet the depths of the sea, and do everything in between.

And I can go backwards and forwards in time, and remain in the moment of now if I want to.

“Paying attention to now is a gift. That’s why they call it the present.” 😮

Who gave me this quotation (I can’t remember right now)?

I can read slow and savor. I can read fast and furious [speed, not affect 😮 ]. Or I can read a mile a minute, if I have to. If I want to. (Using Photoreading, courtesy of my friend Dr. Paul Scheele and The Learning Strategies Corporation).

Fun to read a big book in 10 – 12   minutes, eh?

A guest blog from Sean Stephenson

Just got an email from Sean Stephenson on the topic of reading. I enjoy his blithe spirit.

Here’s Sean’s article from his blog (copy and paste Sean’s URL below into your computer’s browser line to access his website):

June 10, 2010

Readers Are Leaders

Written by Sean Stephenson in Inspiration

Reading is an invaluable asset that helps us shape our thoughts and actions. By reading, we can unlock our true potential at earth-shattering speeds.

When we allow ourselves to be immersed in new ideas and foreign concepts, we expose our minds to a new way of thinking.  These new perspectives help us gain a competitive advantage over others – and the best part about it, is reading is virtually free! (other than our time of course. :o).

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

So read more, grow your imagination and invest in your future. I guarantee you won’t regret it. On that note, here’s my list of book recommendations:

  • The Magic of Believing by Claude M. Bristol
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
  • One Small Step by Robert Maurer
  • As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
  • Mastery by George Burr
  • Get Off Your But by Sean Stephenson 😮

Love life,

P.S. Please leave some of your own recommendations in the comments!  I’d so love to hear them.

Above guest article from Sean’s blog (copy and paste Sean’s URL below into your computer’s browser line to access his website):

Blessings, Doc Meek, June 10, 2010

At Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA; not at South Jordan, Utah, USA

P.S. Like Sean says:

Please leave some of your own book recommendations in the comments!  I’d so love to hear them!

Secrets to the Best “Triple M” (Make Mental Movies)

I have written in previous blogs about the secrets of improving your reading comprehension and writing skills by using my Triple M (Make Mental Movies) protocol.

Here are some more secrets related to the Triple M for making writing assignments easier (and more fun!).

When teaching this writing assignment protocol to teachers, students, or classes, I often say:

“Remember to put your imaginary screen straight out in front of you, sitting on something solid, like a table or a piece of concrete, or fasten it to something solid, like a wall or a tree.

“Why do you want to sit your screen on something solid? Or fasten your screen to something solid?

“So your screen will stay still. So your screen will stay at about your eye level or preferably above.

“It keeps your screen in place, where you can always see it easily.

The best place is out in front, straight out in front, or a little higher, because your mind can see it easier if it is straight out in front, or a little higher [gesturing with my hands, showing my own screen sitting solidly held out in front, a little above eye level].”

If you don’t have your imaginary out-in-front-of-you screen resting on something solid, or attached to something solid, it will tend to drift downwards and pretty soon you will be looking down at your imaginary screen, instead of looking straight out or preferably a little upwards.

Who cares if your imaginary screen drifts downwards?

Your brain does.

It learns best when the imaginary screen is straight out in front, or even better a little higher than that.

Looking down at your imaginary screen is great for feelings, and not so great for facts, such as in a writing assignment.

If the group is “shy” about experimenting when they do not have familiarity with the Triple M (Make Mental Movies)  process yet, I may say:

“Let me show you how I do this.”

Then  I close my eyes and think out loud for the group, letting them know where my screen is (gesturing, pointing straight out in front, a little above my eye level), and telling them what is appearing on my screen now. If nothing is appearing on my screen, I tell them,  “It doesn’t matter, I will just pretend to see the pictures on my screen.”

Then I continue to think out loud, sharing my movie pictures with the class (beginning, middle, end).

Then I re-wind [gesturing with my hand in a small circle above my head to show I am re-winding the movie].

Then I play the movie to see how I like it.

Then I think out loud about how I am fixing or changing the beginning, middle or end.

Re-wind again [with upright hand gesturing in a small circle].

All of this before ever picking up a pen to write. 😮
Quick and easy though, when you have some fun with it
a time or two.

Sometimes I introduce this by saying:

“It can be fun to watch a movie on TV or at the movie house.
These are movies made by others hoping to catch your attention.

“It is even more fun to make your own mental movies. These
are created by you, for yourself, and nobody’s brain except
your brain knows better how to make a move just for you,
and you alone. It is your secret movie, so to speak. You can
share it with others or not, as you choose. If you make a
movie you don’t want to share just yet, just make another
one that you are OK with sharing for now, for this fun writing

Sometimes I remember to say:

“Every time I have to write something, the first thing I do is lay down my pen.”


“OK class, we are going to have some fun doing some writing now. The first thing I want you to do, before even thinking about starting to write, is to put your pen down. (Or if they’re doing the project on Microsoft Word on the computer, I tell them to look away from the computer screen, and look at their own imaginary screen instead.)”


Doc Meek

P.S. The repetitious sentences are deliberate. When I am repeating, “Even if you don’t know how to make movies in your head yet, or how to project your very own mental movie out on to your own private screen straight out in front of you…,” the brains of all the students are practicing doing the process inside their heads anyway, because that is how the neurology of learning works, almost always making mental movies or mental pictures, without conscious attention on the part of the student. 😮

The brain knows more than it knows. 😮

“Hey everybody! What if we are all smarter than we think?

“All of us!”


J Collins Meek, PhD
What if you are smarter than you think?

“My son reads, closes the book, and looks blank.”

A Mom asked me, “How do you make reading comprehension go up?”

A teacher asked, “What steps can I take to help the students improve their memories of what they have read?”

The Triple M is the short answer:

“Make Mental Movies.”

Here is an excerpt of what I wrote to the teacher (which I also shared with the Mom):

Slow reading is symptomatic of inadequate comprehension in the reading process. When you slow down and read even slower (at first) and take the time to learn how to make pictures (still photos, and especially movies) in your mind’s eye as you slowly read forward now, you will find two astounding things happening:

(1) The brain quickly learns to make movies faster and faster as you persist in this initially slow process.

(2) Even when the initial reading is not fast, the movies dramatically increase comprehension and memory, so the brain quickly figures out, hey, I can go faster now. As the speed of reading and making movies simultaneously goes up, astoundingly and paradoxically, the comprehension and memory zoom up also.

Hey, try it with some simple “Dick and Jane” stuff initially and don’t even read a full sentence at first. Example:

“The black dog chased the red ball down the street,” is not read altogether to completion at first.

First you read only “The black dog…” and make a picture in your head of a black dog.

Then you read only “chased the red ball” and make a movie in your head of the black dog chasing the red ball.
Then you read “down the street” and make a movie with background now, if you haven’t already done that background part, and see the action!

Then, rewind the movie by twirling your hand around in the air in a tight circle, as if you were rewinding a video “manually.”
Smile and laugh, eh?

Then, as I say to my proteges that I am mentoring:

“Now remember, don’t remember everything;
just watch the movie and see what happens.” 😮

After they watch the movie, I ask them questions to see what their comprehension and memory is. I ask “sneak questions” like, “What is the dog running on?” Or, “What is in the background?” Or “What is in the sky above?” Or “What is in front of the dog?” Or “What is the dog running on?” Or
“Does the dog have a short tail or a long one?”

The beauty of this protocol and the questions is that everybody has different answers to the same “content” question, proving that individuality and vastly improved memory and comprehension go hand in hand.

Beautiful, eh?

Here’s the “goofy mantra”:

Go… slowly… even more slowly… at first.
Then as you patiently plod along… smile… at first… laugh… the pace picks up automatically…
slowly over time… and soon…

You are going a hundred miles an hour and memory and comprehension are beautiful, not to mention your movies.

Start slowly… very slowly… lots of time to learn to go fast!!! 😮

Love your initial lack of speed now . . . smile . . . laugh . . .

Have fun being a slow really fast learner. 😮

Doc Meek, Active Learning Specialist

Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA; South Jordan, Utah, USA

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