If you want to help your preteen improve his or her middle school study skills, you need to develop a plan that works for your child. Good study plans include certain basic characteristics that work for most kids.
Tip: Encourage your child to write down the study plan. Why? Because when people write down a plan, they are more likely to do it.
Remember: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Review the following steps with your middle schooler to make a good study plan:
Help my kid make each step in the plan as specific as possible.
Successful plans state what you're going to do and where, when, and how you're going to do it. Include information about where your kid is going to study, how long he/she will spend on each subject, and what your kid needs to accomplish each day.
Tip: Think SMART when you are creating steps together and make sure each step is: Simple, Measurable, Actionable, Repeatable, and Trackable.
State what my kid is going to do.
Give the plan a positive spin by writing down what your kid is going to do, not what your kid is going to stop doing.
Tip: Ask your kid to envision him/herself taking each step. Suggest actually closing his/her eyes and "seeing" each step in order. Olympic skiers use this technique, envisioning every gate in order before they take off on a downhill run.
Make the plan repetitive.
Keep it simple enough that your kid can repeat the same steps every day. For example, if your kid has classes that require a lot of reading, include a step to read a specific number of pages every day.
Use "I Will" statements.
Starting each step with "I Will..." shows that your kid is committed to following through with each step of the plan.
Example (for completing an assigned reading)
"I will read at least ten pages of Animal Farm between four and five every afternoon until I've finished the book. I will read in my bedroom where it's quiet and there are no distractions. After I finish every page, I'll pause to ask myself what happened in the story; I'll answer out loud to help me remember."
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