How do children learn? Step by step. Skill by skill. Some students will be better at certain academic aspects than others. This is what makes each student unique. This can also keep some students from learning what they need to learn.
It is important for parents to intervene early. “Study skills are critical to succeeding academically,” says Lynn Fontana, Ph.D. and chief academic officer for Sylvan Learning. “Students who do not have good study habits may waste time engaged in unproductive tasks, they may be overwhelmed by school assignments, and they may become frustrated and fail to complete assignments. This can lead to poor grades.”
It is never too late to build good study skills. Parents can help students overcome obstacles — no matter the students’ ages — with a few simple tips:
– Form a Partnership. Maintain a constant flow of two-way communication. Together, with your child, decide what steps need to occur for her grades to improve while promoting knowledge retention. Allow the student to take responsibility for the learning process and for individual success.
– Understand Your Child’s Learning Style. People learn in different ways. Students can be visual (learn by seeing), auditory (learn by hearing), kinesthetic (learn by doing) or a combination of styles. Parents should talk with their children to create a beneficial learning environment. However, it is up to the child to develop study habits that mesh with his personal learning style. If you help your children work in their individual styles, they will work more effectively.
– Know the Purpose. Parents should encourage their child to approach the content strategically by breaking down the assignment into bite-size pieces. Discuss why the student is reading a specific chapter. Ask the student what questions she thinks she should be able to answer as a result of completing the assignment.
– Celebrate Success. Set weekly milestones. For big projects or exams, get a large calendar for your child’s desk area, and help the student set short timelines to ensure that projects and studying aren’t left until the night before. Celebrate with your child when each milestone is met.