Students study more productively when their study area has these qualities:
- Available when they need it
- Comfortable space
- Free of interruptions
- Available study materials and tools
- Enough desk / table space
- Enough storage space
Whether the desk is in their room or another area of the house, it is important that the space is available when they are ready to study. Having “their own” space emphasizes the importance of good study habits.
A good study environment is very important. Adequate lighting, the right chair and a confortable room temperature all help a child stay focused. Poor lighting can lead to fatigue and is the main cause of eyestrain and headaches among students. The chair should promote good posture (thing straight back with cushions), which will help the student be more efficient in their work. Keep in mind that anything too comfortable may make the student sleepy. Likewise for the temperature: a room that is too warm may cause drowsiness, while one that is too cold will be distracting.
Interruptions and distractions can inhibit quality studying. The area should be quiet and away from high traffic areas. Even aromas from the kitchen can be distracting and should be avoided if possible. Any social media should be removed until study time is over. I tell my students that 20 minutes of quality (cell phone free) study time beats spending 60 minutes studying the same amount of material while being distracted by their phone.
It is important that all the materials and tools are readily available at the study area so they can study without being interrupted to go search for a pencil. Include pens and pencils, sharpener, highlighters, paper, calculator, clips, binders, clock and a calendar. There are MANY desktop organizers available so it should be easy to find one that works for your student’s space. I especially like the rotating organizers. Make sure you label all the supplies as well!
Adequate work space is a must! This also means it is free of clutter. Most students aren’t that excited about studying, so anything that distracts them will cause them to have to study longer and remember less. Some also procrastinate, so having to declutter an area prior to studying does not expedite the process. A clean study space also means less chance of homework getting misplaced.
Storage space is also important. Not only do you need storage space for their supplies, you also need a hook or bin to store their backpack. Adequate storage space promotes organization and motivates them to clean up the space after they study. Cube shelving and baskets are good alternatives if there is limited drawer space. And don’t forget about vertical space! A bulletin board, corkboard, shelves, baskets, bins and pocket organizers can all be attached to the wall if the space is small.
Finally, encourage your student to be PART of this process, they will be the one using it!
For more information on Student Organization and Study Skills click here: