Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Help Your Kids Do Better In School

Today is my kids first day at school and I feel better prepared than I have in the past three years. Armed and ready with information from these two books.


by: Gary E. Howard
Cambridge Learning Skills

Helping Your Kids Get Better Grades

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. 

The 411 by Maria: 

While this book is intended for Middle and High School students and their parents. Anyone with a child in school will benefit from this no nonsense book. 

Mr. Howard covers everything from Note taking to, reminders, learning strategies, test preparation strategies and more. 

I wish this book was available when I was a kid. Reviewing my notes at night meant rewriting them and this is a strategy covered in the book. The information is still fresh in your head and you can elaborate on the information noted during the day. 

There are 47 chapters of easy to follow instruction. Broken down into the simplest format for reading and understanding for even middle school students. 

Mr. Howard also discusses having a plan upon entering high school and how to do your best on test allowing for your best possible grade. 

I believe I would have been a different student had this book been given to me.

How to Be Calm, Confident & Focused on Any Test
By Ben Bernstein

 A comprehensive training guide on how to improve test scores, these lessons avoid memorization and answering strategies and instead address the test-taker individually to determine what he or she needs personally to perform well at test time. Based on 40 years of teaching experience and 30 years of clinical psychology experience, this book distills the best practices used by elite athletes, artists, and top business performers to create a system that can be applied to any test, including the SAT, ACT, LSAT, MCAT, GRE, licensing exams, finals, and even driving tests. The system trains users to be calm, confident, and focused: the durable and dependable “three legged stool” for successful performance. Also included are special chapters for parents and teachers to learn how to be helpful to their children and students as well as online access to additional test prep material for further study.

The 411 by Maria:

This book is beneficial to anyone in school. Whether you are in Middle or High School, College or have gone back to school as an adult, the cut right to it information is easy to follow. 

Mr. Bernstein's section on Dealing with Distraction is worth the amount of the book. Distraction was my biggest culprit in school and the three tools Mr. Bernstein mentions Stop, Look At What You Are Doing, Listen and Fulfill are easy lessons to follow and will have you sitting up taller in your chair because your confidence level will get a much needed boost and your butt the kick in the pants it needs to really achieve what it is you want out of yourself. 

Be the best you can be and with books like these you can't lose

Disclaimer: I received complimentary copies of these books for the sole purpose of this review. 

1 comment:

  1. This is a great book and should be given to every parent who has kids attending school

    brich22 at earthlink dot net


I love comments. Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love to talk to you further