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Use Study Groups to Promote Better Grades for LD Students

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A Group of Students Studying

Developing Study Groups

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Study groups can improve your child's grades and performance in special education classes or inclusive regular education mainstream classes at all grade levels. In college or vocational school, for example, teachers expect students to read several textbooks in a five-month semester. Without an effective and efficient study group, passing these classes would be very difficult for students with learning disabilities. Study groups will help learning disabled students with reading, math, writing, and other subjects in school.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Organize a study group in about an hour-long, informal meeting with your team.

Here's How:

  1. Find at least three classmates for the team. Divide reading assignments. Have each member outline their assigned chapters to share with the group. With this method, five students can gather all important information from an average textbook of about 25 chapters in about five hours. Outlines can help you:
    • Remember and recall the most important information;
    • Create notes for studying;
    • Increase your understanding of reading material;
    • Strengthen reading comprehension strategies such as the PQ3R method.
  2. Keep lecture notes to share regularly or to help out group members who may miss a class. Some students even tape lectures, and that is good for sharing as well, but it is not a time-saving strategy. Keeping and sharing notes helps ensure that you catch all of the important points of a lecture. Working with others for the benefit of your study group, you will develop supportive friendships for the challenging years ahead.
  3. Get together with others who share interests, as in a sports team, religious group, a special interest group, or group of students who share the same classes for mutual support. Others who have experience with the same courses and teachers may have advice about the class and for working with the teacher. In turn, you may be able to help others.
  4. So, what can you do if your child is not in an organization? Help her create her own group. Begin by helping her helping her make new friends in class. Notice which of your classmates seem to be good listeners and which take notes. Find organized students sitting at or near the front. Believe it or not, researchers have found that students who choose to sit near the front of classes are usually the highest achievers.
  5. Study Groups - Help Your Learning Disabled Child Get Organized - Develop Group Expectations and Rules:

    Arrange for the group to meet at your home or school to discuss how your group will work, what the rules should be, and who will take which assignments. Set deadlines for submitting notes and outlines to the members. Create an outline of the group's rules, assignments and deadlines and ensure that each person gets a copy.
  6. Set up a means of sharing information and keeping a sense of belonging for everyone. Create a phone list, a telephone tree, or an online group through your college or public servers such as Yahoo or MSN Groups to communicate important information. Each has its unique advantages.
  7. Online groups offer the opportunity to upload information, share links, and send digital copies of handouts from class or articles assigned for reading by the teacher. Telephone contacts offer more immediate communication and the opportunity to ask questions for clarification.
  8. In a phone tree, any messages that the group needs to hear are submitted to the starting person. That person is responsible for calling two specific people, who call two other specific people. This continues until the whole group is reached. Of course, email and online groups are another way to do this and to share notes and copies, as long as everyone has access to the Internet.
  9. As you work with your group, encourage each other to continue improving your study skills and sharing successful tips with each other. Visit Instructional Strategies and Materials for tips on improving reading comprehension, preventing reading fatigue, using a planner, and other terrific homework helps.

What You Need

  • Access to a Copier - a must
  • Scanner - This is helpful but you can do without it if you're not using email.
  • Email - This increases efficiency, but you can have a group without it.
  • Internet Access - Again, this is efficient, but you can communicate directly.
  • Telephone Access - a must

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