Study Skills for Middle School Students: How to Teach Better Study Habits

Middle school is a transition time between the supportive environment of elementary school and the independence of high school. In order for your child to succeed later in life, he or she will need to learn strong study skills in middle school. Keep reading for more tips and strategies.

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What Study Skills Do Middle School Students Need?

Taking Notes

It can be beneficial for students to take notes during class and while reading because it forces them to maintain focus. They must be on the lookout for main ideas and important facts. Additionally, students can review their notes for upcoming tests, which is easier than rereading an entire textbook chapter.

Encourage your child to find a note-taking method that works best for her. Begin by modeling a traditional outline, in which you write down the chapter headings using Roman numerals and record the main ideas for each paragraph. Although this method is very organized, it may take a long time to complete. Show alternative options, such as writing main ideas in bullet-point lists. Your child may also develop her own shorthand, which can be especially helpful when taking notes in class.

Reading Actively

Being an active reader means thinking about and interacting with a text. Model how to read actively by reading a book together with your child and frequently stopping to ask questions, disagree with the author or make predictions. If possible, encourage your child to write in the margins of the text. You could also help your child look for newspaper articles that connect with the text.


It can useful for students to summarize a text because they must retell the story or information in their own words. After your child reads a chapter in a textbook, ask him to explain the most interesting or confusing section. Listen for any mistaken information and take the opportunity to correct it. Similarly, if your child is reading a novel, keep track of the characters and ask what's happened so far. For instance, if there's an ultimate goal, ask if the main character has gotten any closer to achieving it. Your interest in the story may cause your child to become more engaged.

Frequent Review

Sometimes students have trouble studying because they do it in one sitting the night before the test. Establish a review time each night where your child simply looks over what she has learned so far in the unit. That way, when it's time to take a test, all the material will be fresh in her mind.

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