Struggling Readers: Why Band-aids Don’t Stick and Worksheets Don’t work by Lori Jamison Rog

JOT SPOTS are points in a text that interest, intrigue, confuse, enlighten, annoy or otherwise capture a reader’s attention. Readers use sticky notes to flag places of interest during reading for discussion with others after reading.

Your students may grumble, but using sticky notes to track thinking really does help them interact with and make meaning from a text.  Sticky note reading helps build readers who are active participants in the reading process.

Some tips for teaching students to track jot spots in their reading:

  • Teach the process. Model and think aloud as you show students how you tab jot spots and your reasons for them.
  • Introduce a few different jot spots at a time, gradually increasing your students’ repertoire of ways to annotate their reading.
  • Provide opportunities for guided practice with read-alouds or shared reading. Pause regularly to invite students to share their thinking with a partner.
  • Set parameters for how many jot spots students should tab – one or two per page will encourage reflective reading without interfering with the gist of the text.
  • After reading, allow time for students to discuss their jot spots with partners.
  • If you need some kind of product for evaluation/assessment, have students select 4 or 5 of their sticky notes, record the page on which they were tabbed and affix them to a sheet of paper, along with an explanation for the readers’ thinking.

Download a printable article with more details.


  1. A point where you paused reading for any reason
  2. A place you want/need to reread for any reason
  3. A connection to your own personal experience
  4. A connection to something else you’ve read
  5. Something you agree or disagree with
  6. Something you don’t like
  7. Something you don’t understand
  8. Something important – a key idea
  9. A place where you had to draw an inference
  10. An interesting word or phrase
  11. A place you wondered something
  12. A clue or other explanation of a tricky word or idea
  13. Aha! A point at which your thinking changed
  14. A point at which you made a prediction
  15. A point at which your prediction was confirmed or changed
  16. A point at which you learned something about a character
  17. A point at which you got a visual or other sensory image
  18. Some particularly vivid description
  19. Some dull writing or unnecessary description
  20. Can we talk?  A point you’d like to discuss with others later

Be prepared to discuss your jot spots after reading and explain to others why you marked a passage as you did.

Contact Us

We are happy to answer your questions. Send us a message and we will get back to as soon as we can! Feel free to include your phone number.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt