Congressional School Blog

Strong Study Habits

By Suzanne Burns

Re-published by DC School Hub here


Imagine if your student no longer lost sleep over an upcoming test, or had more time to enjoy fun activities.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your child could enter the classroom knowing she is fully prepared for class?  Would you like her to finish projects ahead of time? If any of this sounds appealing to you…read on.  By taking a little time to learn some new study strategies and strong habits, your child can become more successful in many areas of her schoolwork.




There are a variety of good study techniques and ways for students to become more organized.  Look at a variety of strategies, and work together with your child to decide which strategy works best. Working together allows for student buy-in, which is critical in order for any new study system to last.

If your student is forgetting to turn in her homework, you might want to take a look at the organization system that she is currently using.  Take a trip together to the store and look for pocket folders or binders that can help her to organize her papers more efficiently. Decide together what the new system will be and keep it simple. This might be a three-ring binder, a thirteen pocket accordion binder or individual color-coded folders for each class.  Younger students usually manage better with an accordion binder since assignments are contained in one place, are in the correct location, and can be successfully transported between home and school.


Middle School Girls StudyEstablishing an assignment tracking system can help students stay on top of work that is due.  If the assignment notebook has not worked well, perhaps your student needs to try using just one piece of paper each day to record assignments.  Large sticky notes can also be useful. Have your student attach one large sticky note to the cover of a book, binder, or worksheet so she can quickly jot assignments down.  The most important part is to ensure the assignment is written on something that will make it home.

One misconception among parents is that students know how to study. Most students think they are studying by reading or simply looking over the material.  They try to rush through the material so they can go on with other activities. The best way for a student to study and retain what she is learning is to actively work with the information. Invest in a large stock of index cards that your student can use as flashcards to study and review material. Make it more fun by creating a memory game, flipping the cards over to review the answers.  Small index card flashcards are portable and can be reviewed in the car, and during any spare moment such as waiting in line at the grocery store.


Elementary Boy Study at ComputerActively working with the material can also involve taking notes. Have your student takes notes after reading a section.  If your child is a visual learner, have her draw pictures to illustrate the concepts learned. Or, use a two-column note approach, writing a question on the left side of the paper and answering it on the right side.  Any system is acceptable as long as the student is actively working with the material.

As you work through different study systems make sure you engage your child in the process. If one system isn’t working, be sure to have your child work with you to devise a different system. Developing strong study habits is an important part of student success. Effective study strategies are life-long organization skills that can help children succeed in all aspects of their lives.




Suzanne Burns

Former Learning Specialist

Congressional School