Strategies for Academic Success

When your child reads, can he identify topics, main ideas, and supporting details? Can he summarize what is read in his own words? Is he able to organize his thoughts into well-written sentences and paragraphs? Does he feel confident when taking tests?

If you answered NO to any of these questions, then, chances are, your child lacks effective studying, reading comprehension, test taking, or writing strategies—strategies which are critical to school success. This lack of effective strategies often leads to frustration, poor grades, weak motivation, and a dwindling self-esteem.

The following is a reading comprehension and study skills technique, one of the many strategies that are important for giving your child an edge in understanding material, studying for tests, attacking text books, and taking notes. It is a strategy that is used by some of the most successful students.

The PPORA method has been proven to strengthen reading comprehension and study skills. The acronym stands for Preview, Post-it, Organize, Review, & Answer.

The PPORA method

Preview — read all headings, sub-headings, picture captions, bold words, and questions to get an overall picture of what you’re about to read. This will prepare you for what is to come.

Post-it —
 read each paragraph. At the end of each paragraph, stop and describe in your own words what it was about. Then, using small-size Post-it notes, write 2-3 words which summarize what the paragraph is about. Place these Post-it notes on the margins next to the text.

Organize — 
After you have written Post-it notes for the entire section, create a graphic organizer using the information on the Post-its. There are many types of graphic organizers. You should choose one that best suits your learning modality. A visual learner, for example, would probably benefit from a spider-like organizer. To create this type of organizer, write the main idea of the section in a circle in the center of the page. Next, create “legs” containing the text from each Post-it note. Underneath those legs, list bullet points of the important details, in your own words, from the text.

Review —
 Review the information on the graphic organizer, including the main points and supporting details.

Answer — 
Answer the questions that are given at the end of the section. By this point, the answers should be a piece of cake!

I have seen students comprehension abilities improve many-fold using this technique, in just a short time period! It is one of the many structured and systematic techniques that are crucial components of academic success.

Dear Dr. Levy, My son received an excellent report card. I can’t say enough good things about his EBL tutor. She has done a tremendous job helping him improve his reading and writing skills. Most importantly, she is wise and kind. She is always patient with him. Because of his tutor, my son writes with much more ease.
– Parent