Improving Your Child’s Note Taking Skills

February 12th, 2013 posted by

Taking good notes is an essential skill for any student. Good notes help kids study and learn, do well on tests, and keep track of what the teacher sees as important. Check out these suggestions for improving your child’s in-class attention and note-taking skills:

Listen actively. If possible, children should think before they write – but not get behind.

Develop and use a standard method of note-taking including headings, spacing, short-forms for words, margins, etc.

Kids should leave a few spaces blank as they move from one point to the next so they can fill in additional points later if necessary. The objective is to take helpful notes, not to save paper.

Encourage them to write neatly enough that they can read their notes later, but don’t spend too much time on penmanship. Although neatness can be a virtue, it does not necessarily increase their learning.

Use a large notebook or binder for taking and keeping notes. The only good thing about a small notebook is that it’s easier to carry – not the main goal here. A large notebook allows them to organize their notes better and gives them room to write things down legibly (so they’re readable later).

Teach your kids to be open minded about points they disagree on. They should not let arguing interfere with their note-taking. Suggest that they write it down, they can always bring up an opinion after that.

Students should ask questions anytime they’re not sure what is meant. They should not write down something they know they won’t understand later. If they don’t get it, have them ask the teacher for more explanation. If it’s not appropriate to ask at that moment, have them jot it down in a different color of ink, such as red, so they can easily refer back to it at a more appropriate time.

Remind your kids that they do not have to try to take down every single word the teacher says. It is impossible in the first place, and unnecessary in the second place because not everything is relevent. They should spend more time listening in class and try to write down the main points and important facts. If they are writing as fast as they can, they cannot be listening as well as they should. While there are times when it is more important to write than to think, that’s not usually the case.

Remind your children to listen for cues from their teacher’s voice that tell them which points are important. Repeating points for emphasis, speaking more loudly, listing a series of points, and writing things on the board can be hints that this is important information their teacher wants them to remember.

Kids should copy down everything on the board. It must be important if the teacher took the time to write it down. It may turn up on their next test!

If possible, kids should sit close to the front of the class. They’ll have fewer distractions and it is easier to hear and see important material. Plus, it makes the teacher think you’re child is keener – and yes, that can improve their chances of doing well in class.

Make sure your child gets assignments, due dates and suggestions precisely – they should ask questions if they’re not sure.

Remember, a little encouragement each day goes a very long way. (6 Posts)

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Cindy Rowe
Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!

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