Note: This is the next in a series from the book Organizing the Disorganized Child: Simple Strategies to Succeed in School by Martin L. Kutscher and Marcella Moran…enJOY! 🙂
So…we’ve identified organizational style, chosen and set up supplies, and followed the paper trail from school to home and back again…It’s time to charge forward with Super Study Skills! The most powerful concept at this point to is ASK QUESTIONS. Learners should always question everything because questioning is the key to effective learning. There are three parts to consider now:
1. Effective Reading: Like all learning, reading starts with actually asking (and answering) several questions. The reading technique the authors discuss most is called SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review). This strategy is based on the active learning process of asking questions. The learner begins by surveying or previewing the material, then making a mental map of where they want to go by laying out questions to answer. As they read, section by section, learners ask questions by reading, reciting, and eventually reviewing the answers to the questions. A quick way to come up with questions is to turn headings into questions so the learner can review all the information at the end once again.
2. Effective Note-taking: This also requires asking lots of questions and reviewing information weekly. Based on the work of Dr. Walter Pauk from Cornell University, the simple system the authors recommend (Cornell Method) provides more than just notes; young learners might actually use it! This note-taking technique divides a sheet of notebook paper into columns and has the child take notes in the larger, right-hand column. At home, the child asks what key concepts can serve as hooks/cues for the rest of the information given. The hooks/cues are written next to the corresponding material in the left column. At the bottom of the page, the child summarizes the material. The authors also discuss visual organizers (we use Thinking Maps here at LME), outlines, and flash cards.
3. Effective Test-taking Techniques: This section is so important, we will devote the next installment on sharing ideas. 🙂
Once the material is read and effective notes are taken, the learner is now ready to study for the test. Planning a study schedule, rewriting or reviewing all the materials, using a study buddy, and other ideas abound as the learner prepares to share back the knowledge acquired. Being able to synthesize the material into as few key concepts as possible is a great learning technique for school and life; besides, when you can teach to someone, you know it well! 🙂