Monday, August 15, 2011

Back-to-School Study Skills--Textbook Previewing With Your Kids Part I of III

“The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.” Robert M Hutchins

I'm going to go back to "teaching while we sit in our house," but it's back to school time, so I want to re-run a three part article about textbook previewing with your kids to help them start out well with this fall's school success.

I want to touch on specific “how to’s” of study skills without getting so technical that I lose “non-teachers” out there! When I find a good idea or method in learning that seems to work, I have a tendency to get so excited about it. (You didn’t know that my “chores” and “prioritizing posts,” did you??) So I will alternate between practical suggestions (evening routines for studying) and techniques (teaching our kids to “read between the lines” in their books), etc. So bear with me!

Comprehension and study skills are not necessarily as much remembering all of the details that were read as much as knowing how to read for meaning, remembering the most important parts, and being able to locate information as needed. Students’ textbooks in the content areas (science, history, government, health, geography, etc.) lend themselves greatly to comprehending the information they contain.

I recommend that you have your kids bring their textbooks home, one at a time, and follow some of the tips below previewing their books with them. This will help them (and you) determine the signaling systems, layout, study tools, etc. that each book includes.

A student needs to now quickly how to find information in his book, whether there’s a glossary or index for quick vocabulary help, how each section is summarized, and many other tips that can be discovered right when he begins using that text (with some help from Mom or Dad). By previewing his whole text at first, he will know how user friendly it is, how to set up his notes, and even which study strategies will and will not work for that particular text.

Tomorrow I will give a lengthy list of specifics to look for in previewing your students’ textbooks with them. Invite your friends to join us!

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