Developing Effective Study Skills

Developing effective study skills early on will help your student succeed in school and prepare your child for a fulfilling career. It's difficult for children to recognize the importance of study skills, so it's up to you as a parent to instill respect for education and the development of these skills. The following study skills will help your student perform better on tests and retain information longer.

Teach Effective Note-Taking
One of the most valuable and effective study skills you can teach your child is how to take effective notes. One highly effective note-taking method is called the Cornell Method. In this method, your child will draw a line down the center of the notepaper, dividing the paper into two columns. On the left-hand side, have your child write down keywords and questions. On the right-hand side, have your child write down details related to those keywords and answers to those questions. At the bottom of each page, have your child summarize the page of notes in short, concise summary sentences. This form of note taking is easy to study later.

Stay on Top of Assignments
Invest in a calendar designated for homework assignments. Go through your child's assignments each day and write the due dates on the calendar. Help your child to estimate how many hours each assignment will take. For example, if your child has a book repot due on Friday and a science experiment due in three weeks, you should discuss with your child why the teacher gave him so much time to complete the science experiment. Obviously, the teacher thought it would require more time and effort to complete the science project.

Help your child think through how long it will take to read the book and write the book report, then have your child write goals on the calendar for each day, such as read 40 pages on Monday, but read only 30 pages on Tuesday since he has soccer practice that night. By teaching time-management and estimation skills, you'll reduce the number of panic situations that lead to shoddy work.

Figure out what Study Methods Work
Your student is a unique individual, so improving study skills may require a different process than the methods you used when you were in school. Work with your child to determine what study methods work best for her. Does she memorize facts well from flashcards? Can she read over notes and retain the information easily? Is there an online study skills program that works particularly well for her? Does she need concepts spelled out in detail or practiced in real-life situations for her to grasp them?

It's your job as a parent to help your child develop study methods that work for her and to make sure your child practices good study skills. If your child is struggling academically, you may want to take her to a tutor or a specialist who can tailor a study program for your child. Translate the methods you learn from the tutor into a broad-based study method that addresses all of her academic subjects.

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