4 note-taking strategies to teach your kids

As back-to-school season approaches, children everywhere face a new grade, new teachers and new challenges. Teaching your children a few simple note-taking strategies before heading back to class will give them the tools and confidence to learn with ease. Better notes lead to more effective studying and better performance on essays, quizzes and tests.
Share these four note-taking tips with your kids before the first day of school to help them succeed in class.

1. Use Your Own Words

Encourage students to take notes using their own words. This helps students better remember the important parts of the teacher's lesson and solidifies their grasp of the topic. There's nothing worse than copying words without understanding the concept and then not knowing what those words mean when studying days or weeks later.

2. Use the Outline Method

Each new day of note-taking should start with recording the date. Suggest your child organize their pages using the outline method, so when they refer back to their notes later, it will be easier to see how the information fits together.

The outline method divides information into three areas: the main idea, the subtopics and the details. Tell your child to write the main idea on the left side of the paper, then list subtopics below it. Remind them to leave space below each subtopic so they can fill in the details.

3. Don't record every word

One of the most common note-taking errors students make is to try to record every single word the teacher says during class. Though it takes time and practice, encourage your student to listen to the teacher's whole sentence and focus on the main ideas presented instead of each word in a sentence.

4. Focus on dates and facts

Good notes highlight the essential information they may be required to use in future papers, reports, essays or presentations. They also summarize details your student could encounter on a test or exam. Remind students to record any of the following:

  • Dates
  • Definitions
  • Titles
  • Names of important individuals

If the teacher writes anything on the whiteboard or blackboard, chances are it's important enough for a student to record as well.

Fine tuning note-taking strategies takes time, but with these tips and practice, your child will be better equipped to take great notes and excel in the classroom.