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Free Resources for Teaching Study Skills

Pennington Publishing's Essential Study Skills

Essential Study Skills

Teachers frequently are shocked by their students’ lack of study skills. Some teachers assume that most study skills are simply common sense and do not need instruction. Or, maybe each teacher thinks that “some other teacher” should or has already taught them. From my own teaching experience, I have come to believe that study skills are not caught, but must be taught.

All content teachers have the responsibility to teach these essential learning skills. Mastering study skills will help your students “work smarter, not harder.” If students learn these skills, they will spend less time, but accomplish more during homework and study time. Students will memorize better and forget less. Their test study will be more productive and students will achieve better grades. Reading comprehension, speed, and retention will improve. Writing will more coherent and essays will be easier to plan and complete.

Following are articles, free resources (including reading assessments), and teaching tips regarding how to teach the essential study skills from the Pennington Publishing Blog. Bookmark and visit us often. Also, check out the quality instructional programs and resources offered by Pennington Publishing.

Study Skills

Essential Study Skills

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/summer-daily-brainwork/

Looking to prevent summer brain-freeze and help your child get a jump start on the next school year? The tips from Summer Daily Brainwork will teach your child to “work smarter, not harder.” Students who master these skills will spend less time, and accomplish more during homework and study time.

How to Avoid Procrastination

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/how-to-avoid-procrastination/

This article explains why people procrastinate and gives you the tools that will help replace bad habits with good ones. Learn how to develop a workable plan to avoid procrastination. These practical, easy-to-understand suggestions will help you avoid putting off until tomorrow what you could be doing today.

Learn How to Study

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/daily-school-and-work-review/

Learning how to study is a skill that is taught, more so than caught. Memory research tells us that we remember up to 70% of new information if that information is practiced within 24 hours. Learn how to practice key information from school and the workplace to interrupt the “forgetting cycle” with the Quick Daily Review.

How to Take Notes

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/reading/how-to-take-notes/

Some teachers seem to feel that knowing how to take notes is simply a matter of common sense. However, this is simply not true. Taking effective notes is a skill. Good note-taking can improve comprehension of the information presented in class and in textbooks. It can also help organize for test study. This article teaches the four best strategies for note-taking success: formal outline, webbing, Cornell Notes, and margin notes.

How Margin Notes are Better than the Yellow Highlighter

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/reading/how-margin-notes-are-better-than-the-yellow-highlighter/

The key to reading comprehension and retention is interactive reading. To prepare effectively for tests and discussion, marginal annotations prompt that internal dialogue with the author. This article provides the prompts you need to annotate texts well and tells why you should get rid of your yellow highlighters.

How to Get Motivated and Set Goals: The Top Ten Tips

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/how-to-get-motivated-and-set-goals-the-top-ten-tips/

Motivation and goal-setting techniques should work together to produce effective behavioral change. This article will give you the plan to avoid procrastination and develop the discipline needed to achieve your goals.

How to Study: The Top Ten Tips

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/how-to-study-the-top-ten-tips/

Good students have learned that knowing how to study is just as important as knowing what to study. Good study habits are not just common sense; they have to be learned and practiced. This article discusses how to create a study environment and gives practical tips on how to study effectively.

Six Steps to Active Listening

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/six-steps-to-active-listening/

Good listening skills need to be learned and practiced. They are not just common sense. Learning new habits to replace old ones takes time and patience. However, everyone can improve listening skills by applying the Six Steps to Active Listening found in this short article.

Top Ten Memory Tips

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/top-ten-memory-tips/

Improving memory helps in all walks of life: business, school, and relationships. Learning and applying the Top Ten Memory Tips will significantly improve your short and long term memory. Who knows? After reading this list, you just might remember where you left your car keys.

How to Memorize Using the Grouping Technique

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/how-to-memorize-using-the-grouping-technique/

This simple memory technique will help students of all ages place many items into the long term memory. Using the grouping technique, the seeming trivia of the academic disciplines is organized into meaningful and memorable categories. Score higher on tests and make study fun by learning the way our brains are organized.

How to Memorize Using the Catch Words Technique

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/how-to-memorize-using-the-catch-words-technique/

Improve your long term memory by using catch words. Students will especially appreciate how catch words will help organize their test study. Catch words are useful for simple day to day facts that need to be memorized. You may also figure out why “ROY G. BIV” has helped millions remember the colors of the rainbow in order.

How to Memorize Using the Catch Sentences Technique

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/how-to-memorize-using-the-catch-sentences-technique/

Learn how to significantly improve your long term memory by using catch sentences. Students will especially love how catch sentences will help organize their test study. Catch sentences are useful for many aspects of daily life. You may also figure out why “Every good boy does fine” has helped millions learn to play the piano.

How to Memorize Using the Association Technique

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/how-to-memorize-using-the-association-technique/

Need to improve your long term memory? The association memory trick will help students prepare more efficiently for tests. The trick will help sales people remember names. Learn how to significantly improve your long term memory by using catch sentences. You may also find out how the memory experts can memorize the names of an entire studio audience.

How to Memorize Using the Linking Technique

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/how-to-memorize-using-the-linking-technique/

The linking memory technique is one of the best memory methods to memorize lists of seemingly unrelated objects. Learn how to significantly improve your long term memory by using the linking strategies. Once you’ve made a link, you won’t have to think—you’ll just remember.

How to Memorize Using the Location Memory Technique

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/how-to-memorize-using-the-location-memory-technique/

Location! Location! Location! The real estate professionals haven’t cornered the market on this strategy. Developed by the ancient Greeks, using familiar locations to memorize many ideas or objects has always proved a full-proof method of memorization. Have a speech or business presentation? This article will give you the tools to place the words into your long term memory.

How to Memorize Using the This Old Man Technique

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/how-to-memorize-using-the-%E2%80%9Cthis-old-man%E2%80%9D-technique/

Who would think that a simple nursery rhyme, “This Old Man,” could help you memorize ten completely unrelated items in perfect order. Great for a business presentation. Useful for test study. Wonderful for a grocery or any to-do list. Once learned, the information will be retained in the long term memory.

More Articles, Free Resources, and Teaching Tips from the Pennington Publishing Blog

English-Language Arts and Reading Intervention Articles and Resources 

Bookmark and check back often for new articles and free ELA/reading resources from Pennington Publishing.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Pennington Publishing’s mission is to provide the finest in assessment-based ELA and reading intervention resources for grades 4‒high school teachers. Mark Pennington is the author of two Standards-aligned programs: Teaching Essay Strategies and Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)Mark’s comprehensive Teaching Reading Strategies and the accompanying Sam and Friends Guided Reading Phonics Books help struggling readers significantly improve their reading skills in a full-year or half-year intensive reading intervention program. Make sure to check out Pennington Publishing’s free ELA and reading assessments to help you pinpoint grammar, usage, mechanics, spelling, and reading deficits.

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Free Resources for Test Preparation

Test Prep

Test Prep Articles

Like most teachers, I teach test preparation strategies in my content area-English-language arts. I teach how to study and how to take tests. As an MA Reading Specialist, I happen to think that it’s an important reading skill. However, despite pressures from some to teach to the annual state and district standardized tests, I just smile and continue to teach to the established standards and to the needs of my students. In other words, I think I teach what I’m supposed to teach and to whom. Not all of my colleagues share my views. We just have a basic, honest disagreement on this matter.

Some of my colleagues support teaching “power standards” and use “release questions” to practice for the annual standardized tests. Some spend considerable amounts of time composing benchmark assessments in the standardized test format. Some colleagues plan mini-lessons to address relative weaknesses indicated through item analyses of the test data. Some minimize instruction in content and/or skills that are untested or seem to be relative strengths. Some plan and prioritize their instructional minutes and assessments to match the percentage allotment of test questions. If 7% of the subtest consists of word analysis questions, then they plan 7% of their instructional delivery time and 7% of the questions on their unit tests to match. Some essentially abandon instruction the last week or so prior to the standardized test in order to review test-taking strategies and practice test questions. The standardized test certainly does drive instruction for some teachers, and they readily admit that this is the case.

Now I’d like to report that my method of teaching to the standards and students produces superior standardized test results than my more zealous standardized test colleagues; however, states wisely have precluded this kind of data analysis. But, to be completely honest… If we were able to determine that my colleague achieved superior test scores, I doubt whether I would alter much of my instruction accordingly. I don’t think I’m stubborn or close-minded. I steal from my colleagues all the time, but I better trust the process of teaching to the standards and to my students than the process of teaching to the standardized test.

Following are articles, free resources, and teaching tips regarding how to prepare students for test preparation from the Pennington Publishing Blog. Bookmark and visit us often. Also, check out the quality instructional programs and resources offered by Pennington Publishing.

Test Preparation

How to Study in Advance for Tests

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/how-to-study-in-advance-for-tests/

Although cramming for a test is somewhat effective, studying over a period of days prior to the test gets better results. Learn how to prepare in advance by practicing a daily review of notes, asking the right questions of the teacher, and forming a study group. This article details the best advance strategies for test success.

How to Take Tests

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/how-to-take-tests/

Although your effective test study does increase the likelihood of test success, it is only half of the equation. The other critical half is how you take the test. Developing a test plan will reduce stress, manage time, and maximize success. This article details the best strategies for taking a test.

How to Reduce Test Anxiety

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/how-to-reduce-test-anxiety/

Test anxiety plagues students of all ages. This article teaches you how to relax and build test-taking confidence with positive self-talk and practical strategies.

The Phenomenal Five Objective Test Tips

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/the-phenomenal-five-objective-test-tips/

Objective tests pose many problems for test-takers. Knowing the strategies of how to answer multiple choice, matching, fill in the blank, and true-false test problems can significantly improve ones overall test scores. This article details the five best objective test-taking strategies.

How to Take Multiple Choice Tests

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/how-to-take-multiple-choice-tests/

Learn how to strategically guess on multiple choice sections. These multiple choice tips will help you get the grade you want by eliminating selection mistakes. Learn how multiple choice tests are constructed and take advantage of this to maximize your test score. Hint: the answer isn’t always “C.”

The Top Nine Tips to Taking True-False Tests

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/the-top-nine-tips-to-taking-true-false-tests/

Students say that they like true-false tests; however, it is hard to earn an A on these types of tests. This article details the tips that will maximize your scores on these test sections. Learn how to strategically guess on true-false tests. Everything you learn will be true, of course.

The Top Ten Tips to Taking Matching Tests

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/the-top-ten-tips-to-taking-matching-tests/

Learn how to strategically guess on matching sections. These tips will help you get the grade you want by eliminating selection mistakes. Learn how matching tests are constructed and take advantage of this to maximize your test score.

Top Ten Memory Tips

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/top-ten-memory-tips/

Improving memory helps in all walks of life: business, school, and relationships. Learning and applying the Top Ten Memory Tips will significantly improve your short and long term memory. Who knows? After reading this list, you just might remember where you left your car keys.

How to Memorize Using the Grouping Technique

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/how-to-memorize-using-the-grouping-technique/

This simple memory technique will help students of all ages place many items into the long term memory. Using the grouping technique, the seeming trivia of the academic disciplines is organized into meaningful and memorable categories. Score higher on tests and make study fun by learning the way our brains are organized.

How to Memorize Using the Catch Words Technique

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/how-to-memorize-using-the-catch-words-technique/

Improve your long term memory by using catch words. Students will especially appreciate how catch words will help organize their test study. Catch words are useful for simple day to day facts that need to be memorized. You may also figure out why “ROY G. BIV” has helped millions remember the colors of the rainbow in order.

How to Memorize Using the Catch Sentences Technique

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/how-to-memorize-using-the-catch-sentences-technique/

Learn how to significantly improve your long term memory by using catch sentences. Students will especially love how catch sentences will help organize their test study. Catch sentences are useful for many aspects of daily life. You may also figure out why “Every good boy does fine” has helped millions learn to play the piano.

How to Memorize Using the Association Technique

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/how-to-memorize-using-the-association-technique/

Need to improve your long term memory? The association memory trick will help students prepare more efficiently for tests. The trick will help sales people remember names. Learn how to significantly improve your long term memory by using catch sentences. You may also find out how the memory experts can memorize the names of an entire studio audience.

How to Memorize Using the Linking Technique

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/how-to-memorize-using-the-linking-technique/

The linking memory technique is one of the best memory methods to memorize lists of seemingly unrelated objects. Learn how to significantly improve your long term memory by using the linking strategies. Once you’ve made a link, you won’t have to think—you’ll just remember.

How to Memorize Using the Location Memory Technique

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/how-to-memorize-using-the-location-memory-technique/

Location! Location! Location! The real estate professionals haven’t cornered the market on this strategy. Developed by the ancient Greeks, using familiar locations to memorize many ideas or objects has always proved a full-proof method of memorization. Have a speech or business presentation? This article will give you the tools to place the words into your long term memory.

How to Memorize Using the This Old Man Technique

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/how-to-memorize-using-the-%E2%80%9Cthis-old-man%E2%80%9D-technique/

Who would think that a simple nursery rhyme, “This Old Man,” could help you memorize ten completely unrelated items in perfect order. Great for a business presentation. Useful for test study. Wonderful for a grocery or any to-do list. Once learned, the information will be retained in the long term memory.

The Sweet Sixteen Strategies for SAT® Success

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/study_skills/the-sweet-sixteen-strategies-for-sat®-success/

Just sixteen general strategies will help you make a significant difference on both the SAT® and ACT® test. Warning: Don’t assume you already know these tips; these are not just “common sense” test-taking strategies. Use these strategies with readily available online practice tests and watch your scores improve.

How to Answer the SAT® Sentence Completion Test Problems

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/reading/how-to-answer-the-sat-sentence-completion-test-problems/

Most SAT®-takers generally think that the SAT sentence completion sections are relatively easy. After all, they are just fill in the blanks. However, many students can be shocked to find out that their test results in this section can be lower than those from the passage-based sections. This article shares the best strategies to help SAT-takers significantly increase their SAT scores on the sentence completion test problems.

How to Answer the SAT® Passage-Based Reading Test Problems

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/reading/how-to-answer-the-sat-passage-based-reading-test-problems/

The SAT passage-based reading sections can create a stumbling block for SAT test-takers. Many students score poorly on these sections; however, using the memorable strategies explained in this article will help SAT-takers significantly increase their SAT scores on the passage-based critical reading section. Learn how to beat the SAT with these effective strategies.

How to Get a 12 on the SAT® Essay

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/writing/how-to-get-a-12-on-the-sat-essay/

The SAT essay can produce time management challenges and difficulties for SAT-takers. Many students score poorly on this section; however, using the AEC  TP  IT  2B  RCP strategies will help SAT-takers significantly increase their SAT scores on the SAT essay section.

How to Learn SAT® Vocabulary

http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/spelling_vocabulary/how-to-learn-sat-vocabulary/

SAT®-takers find the critical reading sections challenging because both the sentence completion and passage-based reading sections are so vocabulary dependent. You may not have a huge academic vocabulary, but some concentrated study and knowing the following strategies can make a significant difference in your scores. Here are the short-cuts you need to succeed.

More Articles, Free Resources, and Teaching Tips from the Pennington Publishing Blog

English-Language Arts and Reading Intervention Articles and Resources 

Bookmark and check back often for new articles and free ELA/reading resources from Pennington Publishing.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Pennington Publishing’s mission is to provide the finest in assessment-based ELA and reading intervention resources for grades 4‒high school teachers. Mark

Essential Study Skills Program

Essential Study Skills

Pennington is the author of two Standards-aligned programs: Teaching Essay Strategies and Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)Mark’s comprehensive Teaching Reading Strategies and the accompanying Sam and Friends Guided Reading Phonics Books help struggling readers significantly improve their reading skills in a full-year or half-year intensive reading intervention program. Make sure to check out Pennington Publishing’s free ELA and reading assessments to help you pinpoint grammar, usage, mechanics, spelling, and reading deficits.

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Essential Study Skills

From a child’s point of view, there are advantages and disadvantages to having a teacher as a parent. The time off over holidays and summer vacations certainly provides plenty of options for family activities. However, that additional time at home also means plenty of opportunities for learning and character development.

In our household, Dad was the teacher, and he had three sons. So this meant plenty of sports and outdoor adventures. This also meant that we were given a choice every summer: 4 hours of summer school each day at the nearby public school or 90 minutes of daily supervised instruction at home. It was not much of a choice. Each summer we chose the option that Dad affectionately labeled as Essential Study Skills.

Despite our relief at finally graduating from Dad’s Essential Study Skills once we got summer jobs or took community college classes during our high school years, we have to admit that we learned quite a few useful skills each summer. The study skills were especially helpful, and to this day, we don’t understand why these skills are not taught and re-taught to mastery during the regular school year by “regular” teachers.

Maybe these study skills are not introduced because teachers assume that most are simply common sense and do not require  instruction. Or, maybe each teacher thinks that “some other teacher” should or has already taught them. From our personal experiences, study skills need to be taught, not just caught.

Parents can use the time off over holidays and during summer vacations to teach the study skills that teachers “did not have the time” to teach during the school year. Here’s how to develop your own Essential Study Skills plan for each of your children.

-Find out what your child’s relative weaknesses are by giving brief diagnostic tests. Check out these free diagnostic tests in phonics, spelling, grammar, and mechanics, just to name a few. Design short lessons to address those weaknesses.

-Have your child read for 30 minutes a day in a book at his or her challenge level. Not sure how to help your child pick a book that will best develop the vocabulary and comprehension skills that your child needs to achieve optimal growth?

How to Select Books that Have the Appropriate Reading Levels

The goal is to match individual readers to text that has about 5% unknown words. A much higher percentage is too hard for the reader; a much lower percentage is too easy for the reader.

How can you pick a book to read that has 5% unknown words? Choose a book of any genre and count the number of words on any complete page found near the beginning of the book and multiply that number by 3. Read a page toward the beginning of the book, counting the number of unknown words. A good guideline would be “if you can’t define it with a synonym, antonym, or example,” it is unknown. Then, read a page near the middle of the book and continue the count. Finally, read a page near the end of the book and finish the count. Divide the total number of unknown words by the total number of words found on the three pages. The result will be the percentage of unknown words. Anything within the 4-6% range is acceptable. For example, a reader counts the number of words on a page and arrives at 225. 225 x 3 = 750. After reading the three pages, the amount of unknown words totals 30. 30.00 divided by 750 = .05, or 5%.

Also, check out these helpful articles: How We Learn Vocabulary from Reading Part II and Interactive Reading: Making a Movie in Your Head.

-Have your child study Greek and Latin vocabulary game cards. Which word parts should they memorize? Check out this article.

-Have your child develop his or her writing style and build writing fluency by spending 30 minutes a day writing journals, thank-you notes, blogs, emails, stories, or essays, while using the techniques taught in this article: How to Improve Your Writing Style with Grammatical Sentence Openers.

-Buy this fantastic self-guided resource: Essential Study SkillsThe 56 lessons in Essential Study Skills (eBook) will teach your students to “work smarter, not

Pennington Publishing's Essential Study Skills

Essential Study Skills

harder.” Often, the reason why students fail to achieve their academic potential is not because they don’t try hard enough, but because they have never learned the basic study skills necessary for success. Students who master these skills will spend less time, and accomplish more during homework and study time. Their test study will be more productive and they will get better grades. Reading comprehension and vocabulary will improve. Their writing will make more sense and essays will be easier to plan and complete. They will memorize better and forget less. Their schoolwork will seem easier and will be much more enjoyable.

Lastly, students will feel better about themselves as learners and will be more motivated to succeed. Ideal curriculum for study skill, life skill, advocacy/advisory, opportunity program classes. The easy-to-follow lesson format of 1. Personal Assessment 2. Study Skill Tips and 3. Reflection is ideal for self-guided learning and practice.

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Learn How to Study

The Quick Daily Review

Quick Daily Review

Learning how to study is a skill that must be taught, not just caught. What seems to be simply a matter of common sense is not common sense at all. Avoiding the edge of a cliff on a windy day is common sense; knowing how to create vocabulary flash cards, practicing them, and committing the words and meanings to memory is not. The process must be taught, practiced, and learned to mastery.

So often parents or teachers assume that someone else must have taught a child to study, so they avoid the basic instruction. No wonder children have instructional gaps!

In this article we’ll explore why learning must be practiced soon after it is acquired to move the short-term learning into the long-term memory. Memory practice is an essential study skill and is backed by plenty of psychological studies.

According to Alexandra M. Murray, Anna C. Nobre, Ian A. Clark, André M. Cravo, and Mark G. Stokes in a research study on restoring discrete items to the short-term visual memory:

The authors suggest that selective attention during the maintenance of a memory can turn it from one that is relatively weak into one that is more robust, which allows for access to information that would otherwise be forgotten (https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/new-research-on-memory-from-psychological-science-2.html).

Memory research tells us that we remember up to 70% of new information if that information is practiced withing 24 hours. If we don’t reinforce what has been learned soon after learning, we rapidly forget what has been taught. We need to end the “forgetting cycle for your child (or your students).” Here’s how to help your child learn how to study.

Quick Daily Review

Every day after school or work, teach your child (or students) to complete a ten-minute review of any notes, worksheets, reports, memos,and assignments that you worked on in that day. This review interrupts the “forgetting cycle” and will help you prepare in advance for tests, meetings, or discussion.

Memory research tells us that people remember up to 70% of new information only if that information is practiced and placed into the long-term memory within the first 24 hours after first learning that information. The level of retention drops to only 10% after one week. So, build in to your daily routine a review time soon after school or at the end of work every day. A little bit of review, rehearsal, and study with a Daily Review will actually save you time studying or preparing for the night before the test or business presentation.

Purchase a spiral-bound notebook for each school subject. Label each notebook, according to the subject. Write the date of your Daily Review at the top of page and list the key areas of focus for that subject or class on that day. Write possible test questions, discussion points, questions for further research,  and memory tricks to remember key ideas and details for the most important content learned that day on small sticky notes and arrange them on the Daily Review page. A few nights before an upcoming test or business meeting, you can transfer the sticky notes to a study sheet and use them to create a practice test or presentation. Also, don’t forget sticky notes that you used to take marginal annotations on worksheets, articles, and from your textbook, articles, memos, or reports.

A Few Tips for Writing Memorable Sticky Notes

1. People remember information best when that information is organized in a structured manner.

Tip: Organize your sticky notes into distinctly memorable patterns. Try general to specific, alphabetical, and chronological patterns. Color code categories with different color stickies. For example, if you are studying the explorers you could use blue for people, yellow for their countries, green for their areas of exploration, and pink for their accomplishments.

2.  People remember information that is connected to visual imagery.

Tip: Draw out quick graphic or picture representations of key ideas on your stickies.

3. People remember events and information that are made exciting, interesting, or even embarrassing.

Tip: Personalize what you are trying to remember to keep things more memorable on your stickies. Relate the information that you want to remember to events and people in your own life.

Essential Study Skills Program

Essential Study Skills

The author’s Essential Study Skills is the study skill curriculum that teaches what students need to know to succeed and thrive in schoolOften, the reason why students fail to achieve their academic potential is not because of laziness or lack of effort, but because they have never learned the basic study skills necessary for success. The 56 lessons in Essential Study Skills will teach your students to “work smarter, not harder.” Students who master these skills will spend less time, and accomplish more during homework and study time. Their test study will be more productive and they will get better grades. Reading comprehension and vocabulary will improve. Their writing will make more sense and essays will be easier to plan and complete. They will memorize better and forget less. Their schoolwork will seem easier and will be much more enjoyable. Lastly, students will feel better about themselves as learners and will be more motivated to succeed.

Essential Study Skills is the ideal curriculum for study skill, life skill, Advocacy/Advisory, and Opportunity Program classes. The easy-to-follow lesson format of 1. Personal Assessment 2. Study Skill Tips and 3. Reflection is ideal for self-guided learning and practice. Contact the publisher for affordable site licenses.

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Top Ten Memory Tips

Memorization is a powerful learning aid. Despite our focus on higher order thinking skills, much of important learning is simply rote memorization. Foundational skills and content are important to build upon, but lack of long-term memory can provide a shaky foundation. As in much in life, practice makes perfect; however, effective and efficient practice certainly makes even more sense.

Not everyone has a photographic memory. However, everyone can improve his or her memory by using these tips gained from years of memory research.

1. People start forgetting immediately after learning. Tip: Practice what you’ve learned within the first 24 hours, before the forgetting cycle begins to take hold.

2. People remember events or information learned recently better than events or information learned long ago. Tip: Study what you need to remember right before you need to retrieve the memory.

3. People remember information best when that information is organized in a structured manner. Tip: Organize what you want to memorize into distinctly memorable patterns.

4. Different memory techniques are more useful for different items of information. Tip: Be flexible in practicing memorization techniques—not every technique works with every subject to be memorized.

5. People remember information spoken out loud, written down, or connected to visual imagery. Tip: Practice these!

6. People remember events and information that are made exciting, interesting, or even embarrassing. Tip: Personalize what you are trying to remember to keep things more memorable.

7. The better the information is originally learned, the greater degree will the information be retained. Tip: Make every attempt to learn things right the first time.

8. Key words prompt recall of larger amounts of information. Substituting concrete nouns that are similar to key words are effective in prompting memory. Tip: A good key word unlocks memories. Use concrete words or substitute visual objects for abstract ones.

9. Frequent recitation improves retention. Tip: Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Practice. Practice. Practice. Then repeat.

10. Short study periods and small amounts of information divided by periods of rest produces better retention than cramming. Tip: Practice memorization a bit each day.

The author’s Essential Study Skills is the study skill curriculum that teaches what students need to know to succeed and thrive in

Essential Study Skills Program

Essential Study Skills

schoolOften, the reason why students fail to achieve their academic potential is not because of laziness or lack of effort, but because they have never learned the basic study skills necessary for success.

The 56 lessons in Essential Study Skills will teach your students to “work smarter, not harder.” Students who master these skills will spend less time, and accomplish more during homework and study time. Their test study will be more productive and they will get better grades. Reading comprehension and vocabulary will improve. Their writing will make more sense and essays will be easier to plan and complete. They will memorize better and forget less. Their schoolwork will seem easier and will be much more enjoyable. Lastly, students will feel better about themselves as learners and will be more motivated to succeed. Essential Study Skills is the ideal curriculum for study skill, life skill, Advocacy/Advisory, Opportunity Program classes. The easy-to-follow lesson format of 1. Personal Assessment 2. Study Skill Tips and 3. Reflection is ideal for self-guided learning and practice. Contact the publisher for affordable site licenses.

Study Skills , , , , ,

How to Memorize Using the This Old Man Technique

"This Old Man" Memory Strategy

“This Old Man” Memory Technique

The “This Old Man” Technique can be a helpful tool to help you memorize many seemingly unrelated items or ideas. The “This Old Man” Technique connects the items or ideas we want to remember to the numeric rhymes and key words in the children’s song. As we all know, songs can be powerful memory aids. Think of the “Alphabet Song” and how the rhyming and rhythm helps children learn their ABCs. Click “New Alphabet Song” to get the updated versions (one for beginning readers and one for older ESL and reading intervention students, which avoid the “lmno” issue. Or check out these eight great memory raps and songs for the conventional spelling rules. Or help your students memorize their parts of speech with the “Parts of Speech Song.”

The principles of this memory technique have been confirmed by recent hemispheric brain research. Our brains act as computer file folders, slotting newly learned information in the same file as already-learned information that fits within that same file. This technique associates ideas or items together with the rhyming numbers and key words of the song, just like our brain file folders do. If we take the time to organize new information in same way as our brains, we can improve our retention of that information.

Directions

The trick is to associate the items you want to memorize with each key word in the song in a memorable way. As much as possible, relate each key word to each other to form one connected visual. Substitute concrete objects for any key words that are too abstract to remember well. For example, substituting the concrete ear for the abstract listening would be a much more memorable object with which to pair. If you need to memorize more than ten key words, simply start over with a second set of ten, etc.

To refresh your memory, here’s the first verse of the song:

“This Old Man”

This old man, he played one.

He played knick-knack on my thumb.

With a knick-knack paddywhack, give a dog a bone.

This old man came rolling home.

The key words are “one” and the rhyming “thumb.” Not an exact rhyme, I know; however, I didn’t write the song. The song continues on with a new verse for numbers two through ten.

Here is the list of the verse numbers and their key words, with a few more concrete substitutions, that I suggest using from “This Old Man.”

  1. one-thumb
  2. two-shoe
  3. three-knee
  4. four-door
  5. five-hive (picture a bee hive)
  6. six-sticks
  7. seven-heaven (picture an angel or fluffy white clouds and say “up to heaven”)
  8. eight-gate
  9. nine-spine
  10. ten-hen (better than “again”)

Let’s say you have a list of fruit to purchase for a nice summer picnic. The list includes the following:

  1. one-lemons
  2. two-oranges
  3. three-watermelons
  4. four-grapefruit
  5. five-bananas
  6. six-cherries
  7. seven-raspberries
  8. eight-red apples
  9. nine-green grapes
  10. ten-yellow pairs

Using the “This Old Man” Memory Technique, you associate the key words of the song with each of the fruit you wish to purchase. Develop a mental picture that connects each item.

  • one-lemons-You are standing outside of your front door with a lemon stuck on your right hand-thumb
  • two-oranges-and an orange on top of your right-shoe
  • three-watermelons-with a slice of watermelon on your right-knee.
  • four-grapefruit-You are pushing the grapefruit doorbell next to your front-door
  • five-bananas-because you are trying to get inside your house, away from a swarm of angry bees buzzing around a banana placed on top of their-hive
  • six-cherries-which is in the front yard cherry tree, propped up by a cluster of branches-sticks.
  • seven-raspberries-In front of the tree stands a statue of an angel outlined with raspberry-shaped lights illuminating the-angel
  • eight-red apples-who stands behind a white picket fence, with a row of red-apples stuck on the pickets of the-gate.
  • nine-green grapes-Attached to the angel’s back is a chain of green grapes running down its-spine
  • ten-yellow pairs-to two eggs in a nest, on the ground next to the gate. The eggs look like two yellow pairs, guarded by a nearby clucking-hen

Now prompt yourself to remember each object by singing the song with each of the objects serving as the focus of a verse. Works well, doesn’t it? A little rehearsal will place these facts into your long term memory.

Memorizing using the “This Old Man” Technique will enable you to retain the memory of many seemingly unrelated items. This memory trick is useful for upcoming tests, speeches, and shopping lists. It also makes memorization fun.

Check out these other brief articles on helpful memorization techniques: catch sentencescatch words, linking, association, location, and grouping.

The author’s Essential Study Skills is the study skill curriculum that teaches what students need to know to succeed and thrive in

Essential Study Skills Program

Essential Study Skills

schoolOften, the reason why students fail to achieve their academic potential is not because of laziness or lack of effort, but because they have never learned the basic study skills necessary for success.

The 56 lessons in Essential Study Skills will teach your students to “work smarter, not harder.” Students who master these skills will spend less time, and accomplish more during homework and study time. Their test study will be more productive and they will get better grades. Reading comprehension and vocabulary will improve. Their writing will make more sense and essays will be easier to plan and complete. They will memorize better and forget less. Their schoolwork will seem easier and will be much more enjoyable. Lastly, students will feel better about themselves as learners and will be more motivated to succeed. Essential Study Skills is the ideal curriculum for study skill, life skill, Advocacy/Advisory, Opportunity Program classes. The easy-to-follow lesson format of 1. Personal Assessment 2. Study Skill Tips and 3. Reflection is ideal for self-guided learning and practice. Contact the publisher for affordable site licenses.

Literacy Centers, Reading, Spelling/Vocabulary, Study Skills , , , , , , , , ,

How to Memorize Using the Location Memory Technique

The Location Memory Strategy

The Location Memory Technique

The Location Memory Technique can be an effective tool to help you memorize many unrelated items. The Location Memory Technique connects the unrelated ideas we want to remember by using memorable locations to fix the facts or ideas in our memory in a spatial relationship. This technique is especially useful because you can memorize any items in exact order.

We know from recent hemispheric brain research that our brains act as computer file folders, slotting newly learned information in the same file as already-learned information that fits within that same file. This technique connects ideas or items together, just like our brain file folders do. If we take the time to organize new information in same way as our brains, we can improve our retention of that information.

Background

The ancient Greek orators, such as Socrates, made use of a special memory trick that deals with familiar object locations. We call these memory tricks mnemonics. The Greeks would think of taking a tour of their own homes, beginning in the entryways. For each room of the house, they would picture a key word of what they were trying to remember on or next to a special object in that room. Connecting the unknown (key words) to the known (the floor plan of your house) helps place the key words into your long term memory.

Directions

Picture the floor plan of your house or apartment. Visualize a clockwise walk throughout your home, beginning in the entryway. For each room, picture the key word, or concrete object, on or next to an especially memorable object in that room. Substitute concrete objects for any key words that are too abstract to remember well. For example, substituting the concrete “bulging bicep” for the abstract strength would be a much more memorable object to picture in your dining room.

Example

Let’s say you want to memorize the “Preamble to the Constitution.”

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Key words memorized in order will help prompt your memory. The key words are not necessarily the most important words. The are the words that will best prompt your memory of the following line(s). In the “Preamble to the Constitution,” the key words might include the following: people, in order, justice, ensure, defense, general, blessings, ordain, for

Using the location strategy, you might picture your entire family, linking arms together, in the entryway of your house (people). Next, picture a playing card royal flush (A, K, Q, J, 10) in order on the couch in your living room (in order). Then, picture a bright blue law book on the table in your dining room (justice). Now, picture a can of Ensure® nutritional supplement on top of the refrigerator in your kitchen (ensure). After this, picture a white picket fence surrounding the beanbag chair in your family room (defense). Then, picture a GI-Joe® general saluting you on top of the thermostat in the hallway (general). Next, picture yourself sneezing and then saying “God bless me” on top of the yellow desk in the front bedroom (blessings).  After this, picture a waiter asking, “May I take your order?” while standing on top of the dresser in the middle bedroom (ordain). Finally, picture a florescent orange “four” on the locked door of the back master bedroom (for).

Now prompt yourself to remember each fact by consciously picturing the items in each room. Close your eyes, if it helps. Practice walking through your apartment or home and picturing the exact location of each item to place them into your long-term memory.

Got them?  The images will stick with you for as long as you need them. A little rehearsal will keep what you are trying to memorize stay in your memory banks.

Memorizing using the Location Memory Technique will enable you to retain the memory of many seemingly unrelated items. Useful for upcoming tests, speeches, scripts, poems, essays, lectures? Undoubtedly.

Check out these other brief articles on helpful memorization techniques: catch sentencescatch words, linking, association, This Old Man, and grouping.

The author’s Essential Study Skills is the study skill curriculum that teaches what students need to know to succeed and thrive in schoolOften, the reason why students fail to achieve their academic potential is not

Essential Study Skills Program

Essential Study Skills

because of laziness or lack of effort, but because they have never learned the basic study skills necessary for success.

The 56 lessons in Essential Study Skills will teach your students to “work smarter, not harder.” Students who master these skills will spend less time, and accomplish more during homework and study time. Their test study will be more productive and they will get better grades. Reading comprehension and vocabulary will improve. Their writing will make more sense and essays will be easier to plan and complete. They will memorize better and forget less. Their schoolwork will seem easier and will be much more enjoyable. Lastly, students will feel better about themselves as learners and will be more motivated to succeed. Essential Study Skills is the ideal curriculum for study skill, life skill, Advocacy/Advisory, Opportunity Program classes. The easy-to-follow lesson format of 1. Personal Assessment 2. Study Skill Tips and 3. Reflection is ideal for self-guided learning and practice. Contact the publisher for affordable site licenses.

Study Skills , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to Memorize Using the Linking Technique

Linking Memory Strategy

The Linking Memory Technique

The The Linking Technique can be a helpful tool to help you memorize many seemingly unrelated items or ideas. Linking one idea to another is a powerful memory aid. We all experience sensory stimuli that remind us of something else. You may link drinking a cup of coffee with relaxation, because you frequently practice this association. Hearing Christmas songs just might link you to the feel of your credit card!

The Linking Technique connects the items or ideas we want to remember to one visual theme. Recent hemispheric brain research has proved the power of associations. Our brains act as computer file folders, slotting newly learned information in the same file as already-learned information that fits within that same file. This Linking Technique connects the new information you want to remember with existing information that you already know, much like our brain file folders do. If we take the time to organize new information in same way as our brains, we can improve our retention of that information.

Directions

Select two concrete objects that have a clear relationship to form a memorable pair. Think of this pair like the left and right sides of one link in a chain. Next, link the right side of the first link to the left side of another link to create a second connection in the chain. Continue in this manner to create a memorable chain of paired objects. The links can be endless; however each connection must be well-established and very visual. Substitute concrete objects for any key words that are too abstract to remember well. For example, substituting the concrete “peace sign” for the abstract “peace” would be a much more memorable object with which to pair.

Example

If memorizing a tree, bucket, grass, policeman, horse, cow, a candy bar and a golden ring, you might link them as follows:

Picture a tall oak tree with a golden ring hanging from one of its branches. The ring drops in a red bucket at the base of the tree on the bright green grass. A cow is busy nibbling the grass next to the bucket, while swishing its tail. At the end of the tail a candy bar is attached.  A policeman on a white horse is frantically trying to grab the candy bar.

A bit of rehearsal will place these objects into your long-term memory. Memorizing using the The Linking Technique will enable you to retain the memory of many seemingly unrelated items. Linking is a great tool for revising notes into memorable associations. Useful for upcoming tests, lectures, speeches, poetry, stories, shopping lists? Fun and very practical.

Check out these other brief articles on helpful memorization techniques: catch sentencescatch words,  association, This Old Man, location, and grouping.

The author’s Essential Study Skills is the study skill curriculum that teaches what students need to know to succeed and thrive in schoolOften, the reason why students fail to achieve their academic potential is not

Essential Study Skills Program

Essential Study Skills

because of laziness or lack of effort, but because they have never learned the basic study skills necessary for success.

The 56 lessons in Essential Study Skills will teach your students to “work smarter, not harder.” Students who master these skills will spend less time, and accomplish more during homework and study time. Their test study will be more productive and they will get better grades. Reading comprehension and vocabulary will improve. Their writing will make more sense and essays will be easier to plan and complete. They will memorize better and forget less. Their schoolwork will seem easier and will be much more enjoyable. Lastly, students will feel better about themselves as learners and will be more motivated to succeed. Essential Study Skills is the ideal curriculum for study skill, life skill, Advocacy/Advisory, Opportunity Program classes. The easy-to-follow lesson format of 1. Personal Assessment 2. Study Skill Tips and 3. Reflection is ideal for self-guided learning and practice. Contact the publisher for affordable site licenses.

Study Skills , , , , ,