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A book review of Distracted: Why Students Can’t Focus and What You Can Do About It by James M. Lang

A book review of Distracted: Why Students Can't Focus and What You Can Do About It by James M. Lang

Stars: ****

Hachette Book Group (2020)
304 pages

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Summary: Why is it so hard to get students to pay attention? Conventional wisdom blames iPhones, insisting that access to technology has ruined students’ ability to focus. The logical response is to ban electronics in class.

But acclaimed educator James M. Lang argues that this solution obscures a deeper problem: how we teach is often at odds with how students learn. Classrooms are designed to force students into long periods of intense focus, but emerging science reveals that the brain is wired for distraction. We learn best when able to actively seek and synthesize new information.

In Distracted, Lang rethinks the practice of teaching, revealing how educators can structure their classrooms less as distraction-free zones and more as environments where they can actively cultivate their students’ attention.

Brimming with ideas and grounded in new research, Distracted offers an innovative plan for the most important lesson of all: how to learn.


I got this book from the library because I have two kids with ADHD in my homeschool and they are always distracted.

The book was very interesting and provides some insight into the problem of students today and distractibility. It’s about students in a school setting but it was still helpful. I’d love a book on distractibility in homeschool but this will do.

The book is divided into two parts: Theories of Distraction and Practices of Distraction. As you might imagine, the first section is about theories of why students are so distracted these days. Part two talks about what we can do about it.

The theories of distraction were interesting and some of the practices were helpful but the book is really designed for teachers or educators who work in a classroom to put the ideas into practice.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.