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by NYMetroParents Staff

Related: tips for better study sessions, how a tutor can help, kids with learning disabilities, kids who have trouble with schoolwork,

Teacher and school administrator Gary Howard has been helping children get better grades for over 35 years. He has just released a book, "Help Your Kids Get Better Grades," and he shared some of his key tips with us.

Adult and child in the classroom, teaching

Teacher and school administrator Gary Howard has been helping children get better grades for over 35 years. He has just released a book, Help Your Kids Get Better Grades, with tips for students to raise mediocre grades. The techniques in his book are best taught when children are in the seventh or eighth grade, but can be used to diagnose and remediate missing skills for anyone. Howard shared some of his key tips with us.

Shop and let the student select the perfect pen.

The right pen makes all the difference when taking notes or writing long essay answers on an exam. Parents may be surprised, but printing is easier for many students than writing script cursive.

Schedule Study Time and Stick with It.

Set up a weekly schedule for study time with two forty-minute study times each day with a 20 minute break between. Pick the times and stick to the times.

Buy Study Guides for Your Student.

For high school and college, these $5-$9 guides of key subjects are the easiest and fastest way to get the bottom line necessary building blocks of information on a topic. In no way are they to be considered cheating. They are a wonderful way to get the outline and vital subjects identified.

Encourage Participation in Study Groups.

After school, join a group, discuss ideas, ask each other questions and research the answers together. But focus on work, this is not a social gathering.

Get a Tutor.

In sports you have a coach, at the health club there’s a trainer, so in classes, don’t hesitate, get a tutor. Use the Internet and search. It’s not as expensive as you may imagine. The help over the tough spots can be invaluable – the difference between getting it, and losing it.

Get a Good Backpack.

The essential items include: notebooks, two favorite pens, two pencils, text books (for the day only), Kleenex, energy bars, medications, two dollars in change, and clothes for the weather. Parents – inspect weekly or anytime. Write your name, address, and phone number in indelible ink on the pack in case it gets lost.

Have Reading Skills Tested.

Make sure your child is at the appropriate level for his or her age and does not have eye problems. See an eye doctor if you have any doubts or concerns.

Home Study Location, Chair and Lighting.

Sufficient lighting, comfortable desk and chair, with little or no distractions! No TV, radio, music, or games during study time.

Reading Time and Practice.

Get focused, brain on full alert, and cut out the daydreaming while reading textbooks.  Full attention on the task at hand.

Getting Proper Note-Taking Down.

Taking good notes is a learned skill. Use clean paper and favorite pens, three-ring binder with paper and separators, outline with notes and major points. Re-reading good notes is where learning really takes place. There are several types of note taking methods students should learn.

Develop Your Memory with Mnemonics.

Using rhymes, telling stories or jokes, and memorizing four to five letter acronyms is a great way to remember lists of details or essential rules. Writing these 20 times engraves them on your brain.
Gary E. Howard was a teacher and administrator at the high school and college level for thirty-five years. Although he turned down the appointment as President of one college, he served as the Dean of Instruction at two others. He lives in Moraga, California. For more information, visit his website.

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