Study Strategies and Skills

Study skills refer to those things that individuals do when they have to locate, organize, and remember information; they may include such things as using a table of contents, outlining, or using a strategy such as K-W-L or SQ3R to read a chapter and to remember what was in it. Strategic readers have strategies for dealing with many different learning tasks (Paris, Lipson, & Wixson, 1983; Paris, Wasik, & Turner, 1991). Therefore, learning to use study skills effectively is an important part of becoming a strategic reader. Helping students learn to use study skills is not the responsibility of only the reading or language arts teacher; it is something that needs to be done by all teachers in all classes or subject areas (Devine, 1991). The overall goal of literacy learning is to help students become independent in their learning. Learning to use a variety of study skills helps students to achieve this goal.

Study Strategies and Skills to Be Learned

Researchers have not found any one study strategy or skill that is best for all students in all learning tasks (Alvermann & Moore, 1991; Anderson & Armbruster,1984; Devine, 1991). There are many useful study strategies and skills, and the ones that a particular individual uses will depend on the individual and the learning situation (Alvermann & Moore, 1991; Anderson & Armbruster, 1984).

It is important to help students learn strategies that they can ultimately use independently. Some of the strategies that researchers have found particularly effective in helping students include K-W-L (Ogle, 1986), summarizing (Brown & Day, 1983; Hare & Borchardt, 1984; Winograd, 1984), outlining and the use of graphic organizers such as mapping (Devine, 1991), self-questioning (Anderson & Armbruster, 1984), and SQ3R (Robinson, 1961; Martin, 1985). SQ3R is enhanced when prediction is added to the strategy to incorporate what researchers have learned -- that prediction is important in helping students improve their abilities to construct meaning (Palincsar & Brown, 1984b). This expanded strategy becomes SQP3R.

How Study Strategies and Skills Are Learned

Throughout this resource we have stressed that children and young adults learn to read and write by having authentic, meaningful reading and writing experiences and by getting support from more experienced individuals (Wells, 1990). Students learn to use study strategies and skills in the same way they learn other strategies and skills. Students must have authentic, meaningful problem-solving experiences that require the use of various study strategies and skills. If students require more directed support, the teacher should provide mini-lessons within the context of the learning experience. This is an example of the skills through application concept described by Walmsley and Walp (1990).
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