Developing Study Skills

9 Oct
Our guest blogger, Dr. Keith Kanner, provides tips to teach your child a lifelong skill.
Background: One of the strongest predictors of successful school performance is the child’s capacity to study and complete assignments. In fact, children who have the finest study skills tend to obtain the best grades and get into the better colleges and universities which result in common occupational and personal success. Study skills involve tasks such as in class note taking, organization, planning ahead, material integration, studying, and the completion of assignments. As well-known, most schools place significant emphasis on these acquisitions and award a large percentage of the class grade on the child’s mastery of these talents.The development of study skills however is not automatically acquired by most children and are skills that must be initially taught and then monitored before they become internalized and practiced independently by the child. Many parents rely on their child’s school to teach these skills when deemed necessary and appropriate and then become angry and frustrated when they learn that their child does not know how to manage their academic needs usually after a deficient report card. At this point, the parents become involved, become angry that the school did not teach their child how to study, and then battle with their child over the completion of assignments, hoping that their child will realize the importance of getting good grades.

Depending upon both the age of the child and how long they have failed to develop adequate study skills, will determine how motivated the child will react when the parents become involved. Typically, the longer the child has failed to develop adequate study habits, the most resistant they will be to change their behavior due to habit even despite poor grades. This is most commonly observed in both Middle and High School. In such cases, most parents end up both getting their child some academic assistance, such as a tutor to help them learn how to study, along with setting limits involving desired activities until homework and studying is completed. Over time, if the parents remain consistent and serious, most children and adolescents will learn how to study and become organized.

To avoid such developments however, parents who begin in the early years teaching the importance of studying and homework, along with direct instruction of how to perform these tasks, tend to avoid these later dilemmas because their child internalized and practiced good study habits early in their academic lives. Usually when the child’s school introduces homework, typically in either first or second grade, becomes the time the parent works to help their child learn to organize, plan, and complete their assignments in settings that are free from distraction and optimal for studying. Because the child is just beginning to understand school, and are still implicit in wanting to please the parent, most small children will be less resistant to work together with their parents on study skills and will then feel proud when they witness their success as they receive a good grade from their teacher. Furthermore, because these skills were introduced early, “good” rather than “bad” study habits have been developed and become everyday routines which tend to from the grade school through the high school years.

Key Points (Developing Study Skills) 

1. teach study skills early at home
2. have a homework time established by second grade
3. develop an optimal homework area early
4. have a break after school before homework
5. check over homework
6. reward the completion of homework
7. if bad habits manifest, help immediately to prevent failure

Dr. Keith Kanner
Anchor/Host Your Family Matters

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