Teacher and school administrator Gary Howard has been helping children get better grades for over 35 years. What he’s proven to parents, students, and teachers, year after year, is that very little improvement is possible unless you can teach the children HOW TO LEARN in the first place.
He’s created a short and easy to use book that spells out the steps needed to make sure that a child receives the building blocks as well as the tools that will result in a love of learning.
Help Your Kids Get Better Grades is designed so that parents can simply, quickly and effectively mentor children and guide them to do the right things at home and at school, so that they learn how to study better, listen and take notes, and take tests with less stress.
“Parents can have a tremendous impact on how a child handles school and test-taking,” he says. “But it is the child who is taking the test.”
Howard’s book identifies what is needed for children to discover and grow the talents they are born with. Education success however, is in the hands of the student who has to practice by studying. Howard focuses on how to make studying fun.
Here are just some of the invaluable suggestions on how parents can help children improve their study habits and effectiveness:
Shop and let the student select the perfect pen. The right pen makes all the difference when taking notes or writing long essay answers on an exam. Parents may be surprised, but printing is easier for many students than writing script cursive.
Schedule Study Time and Stick with It. Set up a weekly schedule for study time with two forty-minute study times each day with a 20 minute break between. Pick the times and stick to the times.
Buy Study Guides for Your Student. For high school and college, these 5 to $9 guides of key subjects are the easiest and fastest way to get the bottom line necessary building blocks of information on a topic. In no way are they to be considered cheating. They are a wonderful way to get the outline and vital subjects identified.
Encourage Participation in Study Groups. After school, join a group, discuss ideas, ask each other questions and research the answers together. But focus on work, this is not a social gathering.
Get a Tutor. In sports you have a coach, at the health club there’s a trainer, so in classes, don’t hesitate, get a tutor. Use the Internet and search. It’s not as expensive as you may imagine. The help over the tough spots can be invaluable – the difference between getting it, and losing it.
Get a Good Backpack. The essential items include: notebooks, two favorite pens, two pencils, text books (for the day only), Kleenex, energy bars, medications, two dollars in change, and clothes for the weather. Parents – inspect weekly or anytime. Write your name address and phone number in indelible ink on the pack in case it gets lost.
Have Reading Skills Tested. Make sure your child is at the appropriate level for his or her age and does not have eye problems. See an eye doctor if you have any doubts or concerns.
Home Study Location, Chair and Lighting. Sufficient lighting, comfortable desk and chair, with little or no distractions! No TV, radio, music, or games during study time.
Reading Time and Practice. Get focused, brain on full alert, and cut out the daydreaming while reading textbooks. Full attention on the task at hand.
Getting Proper Note-Taking Down. THE BEST MEMORY IN THE WORLD CANNOT REMEMBER WHAT IS LEARNED IN A CLASSROOM. Taking good notes is a learned skill. Use clean paper and favorite pens, three-ring binder with paper and separators, outline with notes and major points. Re-reading good notes is where learning really takes place. There are several types of note taking methods students should learn.
Develop Your Memory with Mnemonics. Using rhymes, telling stories or jokes, and memorizing four to five letter acronyms is a great way to remember lists of details or essential rules. Writing these 20 times engraves them on your brain.
The techniques in How to Help Your Kids Get Better Grades are best taught when children are in the seventh or eighth grade, but the checklist contained in this amazing book can be used to diagnose and remediate missing skills for anyone. The book provides excellent tips for high school and even for college students trying to raise mediocre scores to A’s and B’s.
Gary E. Howard was a teacher and administrator at the high school and college level for thirty-five years. Although he turned down the appointment as President of one college, he served as the Dean of Instruction at two others. He lives in Moraga, California.