How do I help my child be successful?

How do I help my child be successful?



It is critical that we know what we are to supposed to learn if we are actually

going to learn it. A student can cut study time in half by using any one of several preview techniques. They have these steps in common:

  1. Get the big picture.

Read the preface, introduction, and table of contents. Read section headings and sub­headings. Look for key words that are in bold face print, italics, or are underlined. Read each summary carefully. Find out if the book has an index and a glossary to help find information easily. Look for charts, tables, and diagrams.

  1. Ask questions.

Turn each heading, subheading, and summary into a question. This not only makes reading easier, it also makes anticipating test questions much easier.

  1. Read the assignment.

Now that you know the big picture, what you are reading will make more sense. Look for the answers to the questions you’ve made up while you read.

  1. Take notes.

Whether you do this while reading or after reading, it is essential to get facts and ideas on paper in your own words.

  1. Recite.

Say out loud the facts you’re learning. Ask questions and answer them. List the main ideas and draw conclusions aloud. If you read it, write it, and say it aloud in your own voice, you will be much more likely to remember it. This process will increase the amount you remember by 25% to 100%.

  1. Review the Assignment.

Look back over the headings, sub­headings, key words and your notes to reinforce what you’ve learned.


Even a simple thing like where we study is important. One study moved students from a noisy area to a quiet area. In less than three hours they accomplished as much as they had needed ten hours to do before. Here are some other tips:

  1. Set reasonable and specific short and long, term goals.

It is very difficult to get someplace if we don’t know where we’re going. “Reasonable” means to establish goals that can be accomplished­ – like learning three new words a day. Unrealistic and unaccomplishable goals only reinforce failure.

2 Have a good study environment,

It should be quiet, well-lighted, have lots of room for study materials, and should be used only for studying. All supplies, such as paper, pencils, pens and a good dictionary, should be at hand. A desk is best; a table is good; a chair is a must. Never should we try to study in bed or on an easy-chair.

  1. Plan a study schedule and stick to it.

A sample time schedule is provided. It should include time for recreation and should use daytime study hours as much as possible. It should also make use of study time during the school day and should include time for long term projects like term papers and book reports.


  1. Get to school and to class on time and with the proper materials every day.


The five minutes he or she may be tardy might be either the teacher’s review of yesterday’s material or the teacher’s preview of today’s material. Either way, it is valuable time lost.


  1. Eat a good, well-balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner every day:


Good health is an extremely important factor if we are going to succeed on the job and it is just as important for students who want to succeed on their job.

  1. Get help fast when something is not understood.

The teacher will be happy to schedule time for further explanation after class. The school provides special programs in reading, math and grammar. The School Improvement Program provides a tutorial center in the library. Help is there if the student will take advantage of it.

  1. Develop an attitude for success.

This seems so difficult, but is really so easy.




Failure to follow directions is one of the most common reasons given by teachers for poor performance on assignments and tests. Closely related is not copying problems correctly.

  1. Go over the directions on homework assignments with your child. Look for key words like name, list, describe, compare, prove, and so on, to be certain they are understood.
  2. Make certain he or she does exactly what is expected- underline, circle, write in ink, use complete sentences, and so on.
  3. Check to be certain that math problems have been copied correctly. 20% of all compu­tation errors are the result of not copying the problem correctly.
  4. Make certain that he or she works all the sample problems and understands them. The purpose of these sample problems is to provide practice in using the idea to be learned. Skipping this step is skipping the most essential part of the assignment.
  5. Go over the assignment to be certain that all work is neat and legible. If the teacher cannot read it, it will probably be marked incorrect.




A common reason for poor grades is that the student does not pay attention in

Class or in study sessions. There are several ways to improve this most necessary skill.

Using positive self-talk and images

Athletes often use this method to succeed in a sporting event by telling themselves ” I’ll hit a homerun if I just concentrate and keep my eye on the ball.” They encourage themselves. A runner halfway through a race encourages herself by imagining herself crossing the finish line.

A student can also do this. When images of next week’s football game interrupt history class, he can say to himself, “I know I’m getting distracted. I’ll listen to the teacher now and I’ll think about the game after school.” When she sees herself at Saturday’s band review, she can instead imagine herself taking the math test calmly and confidently because she has studied the material.

This kind of self-talk really works and will soon become a habit so that paying attention will be much easier.

Asking questions in class and when studying

This will serve two purposes. It brings the student’s attention back when it’s started to wander and it keeps his or her attention to the task at hand.

Some general questions are: What is this paragraph about? What point is the teacher trying to make today? What are the main points in this chapter? How does this information relate to what we studied yesterday?

Listening to the teacher and to classmates

In one study, students who took notes did much better on tests weeks later-even without reviewing their notes-than students who did not take notes. This applies to homework assignments as much as to lectures and discussions. Clearly, the best way to listen is to take notes. It accomplishes three things:

  1. It forces the student to pay attention to the teacher or the discussion.
  2. It reinforces learning because the student is using his or her own mind and muscles to work to learn instead of passively sitting back and letting someone else do all the work.
  3. It gives the student written material to review during study sessions instead of trying to depend only on memory.

Eliminating distractions

Study time must be quiet time, whether in class or someplace else. We will say more about good study conditions later, but for now it need only be said that the mind must be able to concentrate on the task at hand. Television, music or any other such distractions get in the way of efficient use of our minds for schoolwork.

Another type of distraction that is not so easily done away with is personal problems. We have all had times when personal concerns and worries made us less efficient on the job, but as adults we have learned to set them aside during work hours. Help your child learn how to do this.