How to Improve Learning by Using Study Guides

When middle school-aged children have effective study strategies, they are able to improve the difficulties they may have with attention, remember the information they are studying and ultimately advance their learning skills. Textbooks are packed with a lot of information; information about individual topics that are spread out or broken up. This often makes it difficult for children to know what to study or what information they should focus on remembering.  Study guides are designed to break up the information learned into smaller sections, which allows the child to have a more generalized focus, allowing them to retain the information given.

Repetition Encourages Retaining

In order for children to remember the information given to them, they need to organize and “file” the information in their brain. Repetition helps children retrieve and use the information they have been given. For example, if the child simply reads each page without taking the time to retain the information, it will be broken up or even lost before it gets filed in their brain. Study guides basically focus on repetition. Throughout each section, information is broken up into smaller, easier to digest bits of information and the information is repeated several times, but in different manners. It is easier for children to retain information when they write it down, summarize the information in their own words, repeat the information and write it again in a different way, but still in their own words.

Recalling Information

Children typically remember information better when it is familiar or meaningful to them. Using study guides is a type of memory strategy, they help children to recall detailed information that otherwise just won’t stick in their memory. Learning with the use of study guides allow the child to:

  • Review the chapters read by converting them into questions
  • Review bold type phrases, sentences and words that are important to the topic being reviewed
  • Review and answer questions at the end of each chapter
  • Repeat important information from one chapter to the next

Reading, reviewing and repeating is the most effective way for children to store information in their brain and retrieve the information when needed. When using a study guide as part of their learning, children are able to write information in their own words, see pictures relating to the information read and repeat the information learned in the way they have interpreted, which ultimately helps them to learn the information being given.


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