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How to Help Your Child Become a Successful Middle School Student

About the Author

Jane Williamson has a Masters of Education from Northwestern University. She is the founder, instructor, and curriculum writer for a 10-week writing program for elementary school students.

 

Middle school can be a difficult time for children due to a number of factors, including the often rocky transition between youth and adolescence and the demands of the academic workload combined with extracurricular activities such as sports.

The following list of online resources can help parents navigate the waters of middle school, which typically spans from 6th through 8th grade. The guide offers tips and suggestions related to study skills, reading, memory, and test/essay preparation. There is also a helpful list of online resources that focus on parental support.

Study Skills

Balancing Work and Fun: A New York school district compiles a list of study tips, including prioritizing school work over socializing.

Videos on Study Skills: BYU offers short videos to help your student with thinking skills, procrastination, memorization and more.

Study Skills: GreatSchools.org, the country's leading source of information on school performance, offers tips on how to master middle school survival skills.

Study Traps: The University of North Carolina's guide on how to avoid excuses and get back to the books.

Self-Help Listening Skills: Suggestions on how to improve the often overlooked communication skill of listening.

10 Best Study Habits: A list of 10 key study habits.

Reading

Close Reading: Tips on how to read a text closely. This can be used before writing an essay or independently.

Improving Reading Habits: Vocabulary development, parent-modeling, free choice and shared reading suggestions.

Active Reading Strategies: A popular system that strengthens reading muscles and helps you to understand more of what you’re reading as you read it for the first time.

Memory and Focus

Improving Concentration and Memory: Virginia Tech's Counseling Center offers detailed tips on how to improve memory and concentration.

Improve your memory, reading, and study habits: A college study guide that focuses on motivation, study skills, effective reading skills and ways to improve your memory.

Tools for Memory Enhancement: Tips and tricks to boost your memory and concentration.

Test and Essay Prep

Ease Test Anxiety: Author Annie Murphy Paul shares techniques on how to ease test anxiety.

Steps to Overcome Anxiety: A helpful guide to to overcoming anxiety.

Ten Terrific Test-Taking Tips: Helpful pointers on how to manage test stress.

Mapping the Essay: Harvard College's strategies for writing an essay.

Essay Test Strategies: A thorough tip sheet that walks the student through the essay exam from prewriting to looking for common keywords.

Parental Support

Parent Support: Parental support can greatly help our preteens navigate middle school, from attending back-to-school night to being aware of disciplinary policies.

Parental Tips from a Principal: Advice from a middle school principal on how to stay involved while your preteen becomes increasingly independent.

Let Them Sleep: The American Academy of Pediatrics says middle school-age students should get 9.5 hours of sleep per night, and anything less can result in a decline in academic performance.

Advice from Peers – An article in which older kids offer advice to incoming middle and high schoolers from The Learning Network at The New York Times.

The Mind of a Middle Schooler – Understanding the middle school child's brain.

College and Career Ready: The Association for Middle Level Education's article on what being college and career ready means for middle school students.

 

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