READING ACTIVITY: “THE STORY IS CALLED…”

The purpose of this game is to find a new title for the story.

Participants

It usually works well with children from eleven years old. It is best when the group is not larger that 15 participants.

Objectives

  • To understand a story in depth.
  • To communicate and defend an own idea.
  • To think about what was read or heard.
  • To participate by voting.

Method

The participants can know or not the true title of the story. If they know it, it will be discuss whether the title is appropriate or not, and why. Other options will be considered.

The children will be given paper to write down a new title, once they have read or heard the story. As they give new possible titles, they will be written on the board. Finally children will vote for the two or three favorite ones, also based on the reasons they have presented.

Time

The session can be extended indefinitely at the moment of voting. The interventions can be controlled so everyone can be heard.

AVOID STUDY “TIME STEALERS”

Video games, TV, computers… these are time stealers that sap at children’s study time. The ideal would be to not have to hide them, but rather control how long they can spend watching TV and playing videogames, but this shouldn’t start when they’re fifteen years old. It should start when they are seven, because these are habits established when the child is young. This way, it’s natural to impose limits and parental authority. Some psychologist recommend to put limits on the time to use them, and only allow it if they’ve finished studying.

STUDY SUPERVISION

Family must control the learning process. If there’s no monitoring and no studying guidelines for children, then there’s chaos. Supervision during studying doesn’t mean that the parents have to solve every single doubt the children have; we shouldn’t do our children’s job, but rather ask them how they think a problem can be solved. We must guide them, help them find out what’s causing difficulties, and then have them give a positive comment so they can see they’re capable of doing it and they get motivated. In other words, we must help them think.

How to motivate our child? The first thing to do is to help the child feel that there’s a meaning to what he’s doing. If he doesn’t believe it, when something is not coming out right, he’ll leave it for another day. This is why supervision is necessary. We need to ask him questions, see if he summarized the job, if he’s properly following procedures, and we must correct his spelling mistakes, dedicate time to him, and overall, just be interested in it.

STUDY TECHNIQUES

Usually, performance during studying starts by being regular (so it’s best not to start with the most difficult subjects), then after a while, the performance is better, and during the final minutes it’s usually lower (this is the ideal time for simple or automatic tasks). The most advisable thing to avoid distractions is to have the child dive straight into studying. Among the basic rules that can be followed when studying, this is suggested:

 

  • Do a first exploratory reading of the book or note’s subject to be studied, but without underlining.
  • Do a second reading, this time deeper and underlining. It’s all about prioritizing ideas and marking them differently according to their importance.
  • Draw a graph with the main ideas or write a summary.
  • Learn by reading several times, and even repeating aloud, the graph or summary.
  • Organize a study plan for the exam. If, for example, the exam is in eight weeks, review the summaries and graphs periodically.
  • Read everything again to make sure the graph or summary is well-organized and nothing important has been left out.
  • Don’t continue studying with the original material (book or notes), but rather the material that’s already been written.

STUDYING AS A RITUAL

Just because a child has been a student for years doesn’t mean he or she has developed good studying habits. Many times, when our children start studying more complex content, they start slacking off, getting worse grades or even failing.

Psychologists say that the main problems for children include taking too long to start studying, or only doing the assigned homework without studying regularly at home. One of the main problems is definitely that they don’t study on a steady basis. How to achieve this? With a goal. Who sets it? Teachers assign homework, but parents are the ones who have to make sure the child works at home, it’s their job to make sure that the child studies at home what he’s learned at school, instead of just doing homework. We can do this by asking what he did in class today, and by showing we want him to learn things and not just write them. Parents must encourage their children to continue the learning process at home.