Note taking seems to be a talent that some people are just born with.
I vividly remember being in school – I don’t remember how old I was – and looking around the classroom and seeing people taking notes. I had no idea what they were doing. Did I miss a pop quiz announcement?
Finally I figured out that they were taking notes on the lecture – although at the time I didn’t know that was what it was called.
Kids with ADHD often don’t instinctively know how to take notes. And if they struggle with being able to pay attention consistently – as most do – even the notes they do take are likely to be incomplete.
Here are some tips on taking more effective notes:
There are a lot of books, workbooks and websites out there that offer tips and practice on note taking and study skills.
Homework Made Simple by Ann Dolin is one I have read and like a lot. Note: that is a link to buy the book on Amazon. It’s not an affiliate link – I don’t make money from it.
A site I just discovered is How to Study There is a lot of wonderful information there for students.
The Cornell method of note taking was developed at Cornell University. It is basically a two column sheet of paper. Main ideas are written in the left side and supporting ideas on the right. For instance, if you were listening to a lecture on ADHD, the left column might say “Symptoms” and the right one would list them.
Here is a link to Cornell’s example.
Mind mapping is another effective way of taking notes that works well for ADD Students. In the center of a piece of paper, you write the main topic and circle it. For instance, ADHD. Then coming off of that circle are arms – like a spider – with each arm representing a different subtopic, like “symptoms”. Here are some from Wikipedia.
Believe it or not, I was an adult with kids of my own before I knew that there were key words in a lecture that you should listen for because the information following those words was important. How did I ever make it through school?
During a lecture, listen for words like “important”, “key”, “in contrast”, “major”. Also be aware of the lecturers tone of voice and stance. When making an important point, they will often make more eye contact with the class and change the tone of their voice, perhaps speaking a little louder.
ADDitude Magazine has a lot of great articles on study skills and note taking. Here is one.
Note taking is only part of the puzzle when it comes to doing well in school, but it’s an important part. Teaching your child to do it well will benefit them far beyond school.