Reading & school books:
You may find that you cannot read your school books quickly and well enough to understand. The best advice is to get someone to read them to you.
Ask a parent or an older sister or brother to read the book to you. If someone else is willing to read aloud to you, you can spend the time listening and trying to understand. It is even better if they will record the reading so that you can listen to it again and again. When you listen to a tape recording of a book, always have the book open. Follow the reader as she or he reads.
Computers and special software programs can also read text to you and help you follow the words as they are being spoken. Talk to your teacher to see what is available.
Many of the novels and plays that will be studied in English class are available on audio-tape. Ask someone in your local library or in your local bookshop.
- Read with a bookmark or a ruler. This can help you keep your place.
- Some people find it can help to read out loud so they can hear themselves read.
- Stop and think as you read. Read one paragraph or section, then stop and think about what you have read. Tell yourself what you just read. It may help to talk out loud to yourself. If you cannot remember what you read, you need to read it again.
- Read with a pencil of highlighter pen in your hand. Mark the things that are important.
- Read the questions before you read the text. Then as you read, think of the questions. They will help you know what is important. Read it all before you try to write the answers.
Listening in Class:
- If you pay attention and learn in class, you will find it easier to study.
- Be an active listener. Think while you are listening. Think about what the teacher is saying.
- You can listen better if you sit to the front of the class.
- Try to sit with students who want to learn.
- Ask questions when you do not understand. One way is to say back to the teacher what you think they said and ask if that is right. When you ask questions, the teacher knows you are listening and trying to learn. (Teachers like to know that you are out there!)
If you cannot read your own writing or spelling, you must find another way to get class notes. Ask the teacher if you can use a small tape recorder in class. Ask a friend if you can photocopy their notes. You might agree to meet them every Monday at a local shop to do this. If there is one, will the teacher let you use a computer to take notes in class?
If you can take notes, do it right. Here is some advice.
- Listen with a pen or pencil in your hand and paper to write on.
- Listen with a highlighter in your hand and your book open.
- If you miss something, leave a space and keep writing. Fill in the spaces later with the help of a teacher or a friend.
- Make up your own short cuts. If you cannot spell a word you need, just put the first letters or write what it sounds like. You can fix it later.
- Do not try to write everything.
- Do copy what the teacher puts on the board.
- Do listen for hints on what to write down. Like when the teacher says you need to know this or this will be on the exam. If the teacher says it more than once, write it down. If the teacher pauses, it is because they want you to write it down.
- As part of your homework, look over your notes. Fill in the blank spaces. Fix the spelling.
- As part of studying, rewrite your notes in another form like a mind map