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Nine Good Note-Taking Habits For All Kids

Even though I believe that note taking should be individualized for each student, this section provides some plain-and-simple good habits that can help all kids take better notes. Yes, I know I just said "all kids." But these habits are just good habits to get into. What can I say? The world's a gray place.

1. Bust out the labels: Have your child put the date, class topic, and her name on the first page of her notes every day. She can actually name and date every page if she wants to take this to the extreme. This is a good habit for your child to get into if her notes have the tendency to be stuffed into back pockets or buried at the bottom of a backpack.

2. Start each day anew: Tell your child that each day gets a new sheet of paper. Suggest that she write on one side of the paper only.

3. Don't raise a tree hugger: Encourage your child not to save paper when it comes to note taking. Send him to school with a more than adequate supply. Have him write as large as he needs to and leave plenty of space between ideas.

4. It's okay to listen: Tell your child that it's okay just to listen in class and not write anything down sometimes.

5. Individualize your child's notation system: Encourage your child to use colors, shapes, or words to identify different ideas.

6. Include visuals: Any time your child can draw a picture or diagram to help remember an idea or concept, tell her to do so.

7. Be well stocked: Give your child as many pens or pencils as he may need, and give a few boxes to his teachers so that he won't get scolded if he loses some. It's a waste of time to yell at kids for losing a writing utensil. It doesn't help him remember the pen next time (and just gives him something more to talk about in therapy when he's 30!).

8. Have your child sit up close and make eye contact: Enough said.

9. Let your child take breaks: It's more than reasonable for your child to get up every 20 minutes or so during class -- especially if she's dealing with the gift of ADHD. Work with your child's teacher to find a reasonable way to let your child get up every now and then.

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