Thursday, December 19, 2013

Spend Winter Break Reading!

Did you know that reading for pleasure is one of the biggest predictors of success in school?  Here are some of its benefits:

·        Reading is relaxing and fun.

·         Readers effortlessly improve their vocabulary and comprehension.

·         Reading stimulates imagination.

·         Reading expands the mind by teaching about different cultures, different walks of life, different personality types, and useful information.

·         Reading for pleasure consistently improves test scores.

·         Reading on a regular basis improves writing and spelling.

·         Practice is the only way to become an excellent reader.

How to find compelling books:

·        Read more books by a favorite author

·        Read series books

·        Get recommendations from friends

·        Choose books based on your interests

·        If the book turns out to not hold your interest, stop reading it and try another

Some students are too busy to read for pleasure during the school year; but this year, many of us have two or more weeks off for winter break.  What a great time to become absorbed in a novel, biography, or sports book!  Many of us will be traveling during the holidays. Bring books or e-readers with you and listen to recorded books as a family.

Make a New Year's Resolution to prioritize reading in your family. On average, make a goal for family members to spend more time reading than watching TV. You can read electronically, articles as well as books, but you might want to limit the texting, which mostly improves your thumb flexibility and little else.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Remembering Nelson Mandela

One of the first things I did in my freshman year of college was to march across campus in protest of the university’s investment in South Africa.  This was a time of apartheid, and Nelson Mandela had been imprisoned because he was striving for equality.  In the 1980’s, many years after our own country had corrected the Jim Crow laws, South Africa still severely limited rights for blacks.  They finally changed their system, resulting from divestment from countries, businesses, and universities, as well as the work of activists like Nelson Mandela.  In 1990, when the South African President F.W. de Klerk finally was ready to give South African blacks the rights they deserved, he freed Nelson Mandela and taught him how to be the next leader.  Both received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, and Nelson Mandela became President in 1994.  In 1999, he resigned and handed power to younger leaders, to set an example of democracy.

 Nelson Mandela is a hero for so many reasons.  He fought for what he knew was right, at the great risk to his life and liberty.  He gave up 27 years of a quality life for the sake of his country and future generations.  He did not let anyone break him.  From prison, he continued his work, and when released, he became president.  He could have led violent protests but instead, led a peaceful change for South Africa and advocated a country of inclusion of both the black majority and white minority.  He also emphasized quality education to lift up the black population into leadership positions.  He persevered while facing extremely difficult obstacles, and was an effective leader and negotiator, one to be admired throughout the world.  Nelson Mandela’s traits and accomplishments are a great inspiration for all of us to make the most of our own lives.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Tutoring For Success on Facebook!

For the past few months, Tutoring For Success has been hard at work revamping its Facebook page, and we wanted to make sure that you were in on the action! If you haven't already "liked" our page, you can do so by clicking this link:

Brain teasers, trivia, tips, and motivational tools are just a few of the fun updates we post on our page. Last month we featured regular suggestions on how to improve your study and homework habits. Here's the full list, in case you missed out:

  • Tip #1: Do homework in a quiet place that is free from distractions, and focus for a solid hour with just a break or two. This takes discipline, but you will get so much more done in a shorter amount of time, with extra free time at the end!
  • Tip #2: Use mnemonic techniques to study for those pesky quizzes and tests. For example: The order of taxonomy (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species), or "Kids Prefer Cheese Over Fried Green Spinach."
  • Tip #3: Use a calendar to help organize and prioritize your homework time. When a long-term assignment is given, write the due date on the calendar, then space out the work to be done over the number of days that you have to do it. Be sure to factor in other homework, extracurricular activities, and free time! Using a calendar will help safeguard against procrastination and last-minute cram sessions.
  • Tip #4: Here is a link to a list of 5 apps for smartphones that can help students keep track of their homework: Technology doesn't have to be a constant distraction!
  • Tip #5: Form a study group with friends and / or classmates. Don't underestimate the power of a group, especially when it comes to working through a difficult math problem, or discussing an essay topic. Instructing a peer who doesn't fully understand the material can also help to strengthen your overall comprehension. You might even make some new friends!
  • Tip #6: Break down material. All of us procrastinate with things we don't want to do, or that are overwhelming. For me, it was cleaning my closet and going through clothes. My husband and I used the breaking down strategy with great success. This principle can be used successfully for school projects. Use a calendar to divide the different parts of the project and spread out the tasks over many days. Any big assignment does not have to (and should not!) be done all at once. Remember: Time spent procrastinating is not really free time; it's stressful time.
  • Tip #7 (for Thanksgiving week, but can be applied to all holiday breaks / vacations): You may not want to do homework, but Thanksgiving is a good time to: Organize notebooks, binders, and other materials; Organize your clothes, so that in December you can save morning time by easily grabbing an outfit; Work on long-term projects to save time later on.   

If you've enjoyed reading these study tips and would like to see more from Tutoring For Success, check us out here on Facebook and "like" our page! We will be offering motivational tools and tips all December long, so don't miss out!