Teaching Study Skills to Elementary Students

Instructor: Shannon Orr
This lesson defines and discusses the importance of study skills. It also introduces different types of study skills and how they can be beneficial to students.

Study Skills

Most people have heard the saying, 'practice makes perfect' but what does that really mean? Practice makes perfect simply means the more you do something, the better you will understand or perform. Great sports players don't just wake up one day and discover they are good, they work hard to perfect their ability and even when they achieve their goal of becoming a great player, they have to continue to practice so that they can improve and maintain their skills.

This same approach is necessary to excel in the classroom. The better your study skills are, the better you will do academically. Study skills are the steps a student takes to understand and retain information that has been taught by their teacher. Study skills are essential for students to do well academically. Just like sports players have coaches that teach the players how to perform at their top level, teachers must act as coaches for students and teach them techniques that will improve their study skills.

Study skills are important because not only do they help students prepare for the current lessons they are being taught, but it also helps students throughout their academic journey. They can learn techniques and strategies they can refer to even as they progress through different grade levels.

Note Taking

Note Taking is a technique students use to write down important information. Notes can include specific dates, individuals, events, places, and actions. Teachers should teach students not to write down everything that is being said but to listen and record specific information only. Teachers should help students identify certain keywords and phrases that will signal to them that the information is important and should be written down.

For example, some teachers may say things like, 'This is important.', or 'You may want to write this down.' When a student hears this, they should know that the information should be written down. Also, if the teacher is talking about specific vocabulary words or key events, students should know to write those down as well. If the teacher says that it was a cold and rainy day, that information is not important and should not be written. However, if the teacher says, 'because of the cold weather, over 10,000 soldiers died,' the students should know that the information given is specific and should be written down.

Interpretation of Graphs

Interpretation of graphs is being able to look at a graph and figure out what information it is showing. Graphs allow large amounts of information to be organized in a small space. Teachers can help students understand that using graphs can help them determine when events occurred, how often things happened, as well as compare information. When students understand graphs and can properly interpret the information they provide, they can use graphs to list information to aid them in their ability to retain the information. Students can quickly and easily compare information without the need of writing a lot of information down or taking up a large amount of space.

A student may be comparing different battles from WW1 and trying to determine which battles suffered the greatest losses. Writing the information down may take several pages or paragraphs and may be difficult for the students to remember. Teachers can encourage students to convert this information into a graph so they can quickly determine which battle had the greatest losses by simply looking at the graph.

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