Saturday, March 10, 2012

ADHD? The Right Study Tools Can Make All the Difference!

Don’t like to study? Feel overwhelmed with the amount of reading you need to cover? Can’t concentrate when it is time to study? You are not alone! However, you might benefit from some new tips, strategies, and resources that could make your study routine ---less routine and MORE productive. How? Just take a look at what we suggest.

Arrange for the following needs to be met BEFORE a study session begins:

A. Study Environment: Create a space consistent and conducive to good study and that satisfies your learning style. To do this, consider one or more of the following:

1. Lighting---Low lighting can actually be appropriate for some learners.

2. Seating/study surface---A desk and chair with good support are recommended, but some learners can study more effectively with soft furniture such as bean bag chairs, etc.

3. “Comfort colors”---Soothing colors in the immediate surroundings can be therapeutic and induce relaxation. However, bright colors can be stimulating and promote more attention to work.

4. Structure & organization---Keeping to a set time for study is usually a good idea. Storing completed written work in folders or binders with dividers can help with organization and keep you current with assignments.

5. Sound---Wordless, instrumental music or nature sounds conducive to study can be effective.

6. Short breaks with water and/or healthy snacks---For some younger students, 5-minute breaks at 15 minute intervals can be beneficial. For older children and teens, a break of a few minutes every hour or so is usually helpful.

B. Study Tools: Consider one or more of the following items when attention is an issue:

1. Appropriate supplies---Have the proper supplies needed to study---sharpened pencils, good erasers, enough paper, pocket folders or binders, etc. should always be kept at hand for a good and productive study session.

2. Appropriately charged/connected hardware---Be sure to charge up your tech devices prior to study time.

3. Index cards—manually and/or digitally created---Keep a supply of 3” x 5” index cards (lined or unlined) for making quick study tools that are customized to the student’s learning style.

4. Overlays---If visual stress caused by white page backgrounds of printed media is an issue, try overlays (colored, transparent sheets). A particular color may produce better results and help you experience more reading comfort and success.

5. Focusing tools---If focus and concentration are issues, try tools that isolate a line(s) of text and block out surrounding text. Focus cards will provide this assistance for many distracted readers.

6. Tactile manipulatives---Having something soft (or firm, depending on personal preference) in one’s hand to manipulate during study times can be soothing and promote better concentration and retention of the content studied. These tactile manipulatives help with relaxation and concentration (good for tactile and kinesthetic learners.

7. Recording device---Recording history facts, dates or other content, especially when memorization is involved can be very beneficial. Listen to the recordings at times that are not mentally taxing (while preparing for bedtime, dressing for the day, taking a walk, driving/riding in the car, etc. (This can be especially helpful for auditory learners.) The results of this can be surprisingly beneficial.

In addition, you might find the following online resources to be helpful for improving your study strategies:

Resources and Strategies for Effective Study

10 Tips for Good Study Skills

Tips on How to Study---from Dartmouth College (includes printable handouts)

Study and Success Strategies-from the Berkeley Student Learning Center

Thinking about these aspects of a student’s study environment, use of the right tools to enhance the study experience, and strategies for good study can mean all the difference in the world when test time approaches. Having prepared completely will yield great results. All the best for study success, students!

For more information: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

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