How to Succeed in the New School Year – For Parents and Students

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For those of you with kids, who are about to return to school, I highly recommend reading this post with some tips and insights into helping your child succeed in school (no matter which grade he/she will be entering).

Chofesh HaGadol–summer vacation is (almost) over. Way back in June, when the last of the school bells were ringing to herald the end of the school day and the school year, the vacation time loomed large with all kinds of plans for summer. Your child was going to SLEEP! Your child was going to do things that he/she wanted to do and not homework or projects or……..

And then, like an alarm clock going off while you were in a deep sleep, the alarm clock of The First Day of School is about to ring, and the year will once again begin for hundreds of thousands of students. Some will enter school with a smile and look forward to getting back in a classroom. Others (most?) will trudge to the bus or car with a look on their faces that makes it look as if they are about to be flogged. But like it or nor, ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for………

In order to make the coming school year more productive and hopefully more educational, I would like to provide you with a few tips.

Know “how” you learn: I ask every student I learn with to tell me “how” they learn. Nine times out of ten, they do not understand the question, but actually they DO know the answer! The question means: do you learn better visually (someone writes down the information; you read the book; the teacher writes the information on the board)? Are you an auditory /verbal learner? In this type of learning, a teacher may write down all the work or may assign various pages to read, but it does not help the student learn because this student needs to HEAR the information. Perhaps your child is a physical (kinesthetic) learner. In that type of learning, the reading or the listening is not sufficient. You learn by DOING; getting your hands dirty. It may mean writing down the information, rather than reading about it. Finally, he may be a social learner. These types of students learn better with a group. That can mean learning in a two-person study group or a small group of a few students.

The reason it is important to know HOW you learn is so that you will match your learning skills with your study skills. If, for example, you are an auditory learner, find someone who can read some of the basic information to you, in addition to trying to read it. HEARING the information for a student like this is the most important thing. If you can not find someone to read the information aloud, the student should read the material being studied OUT LOUD. This way, your child will hear the words.

Most students do not have only one way that they learn. Perhaps a student learns one way with one subject and a different way in another subject. The key is to try to determine with which method your child learns best, and then to use that method to study and learn.

To help you help your child succeed based on the way they learn best, here are a few simple tips for various learning styles.

Auditory Learners:

  • Sit where you can hear.
  • Have your hearing checked on a regular basis.
  • Use flashcards to learn new words; read them out loud.
  • Read stories, assignments, or directions out loud.
  • Record yourself spelling words and then listen to the recording.
  • Have test questions read to you out loud.
  • Study new material by reading it out loud.

Visual Learners:

  • Sit near the front of the classroom.
  • Have your eyesight checked on a regular basis.
  • Use flashcards to learn new words.
  • Try to visualize things that you hear or things that are read to you.
  • Write down key words, ideas, or instructions.
  • Draw pictures to help explain new concepts and then explain the pictures.
  • Color code things.

Physical/Tactile/Kinesthetic Learners: 

  • Participate in activities that involve touching, building, moving, or drawing.
  • Do lots of hands-on activities like completing art projects, taking walks, or acting out stories.
  • It’s OK to chew gum, walk around, or rock in a chair while reading or studying.
  • Use flashcards and arrange them in groups to show relationships between ideas.
  • Trace words with your finger to learn spelling (finger spelling).
  • Take frequent breaks during reading or studying periods (frequent, but not long).
  • It’s OK to tap a pencil, shake your foot, or hold on to something while learning.
  • Use a computer to reinforce learning through the sense of touch.

No one method works for all students. The key is figuring out (sometimes via trial and error) which is the learning style and then plug in some of the above ideas to make learning more successful!

Next time: Working on executive functioning skills.

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  1. Pingback: Success in School (Part II) Executive Functioning Skills - Israel Blogger

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