Study skills start sooner

New curriculum starts higher education prep in middle school



FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Study skills are being stressed with the launch of a new curriculum designed by Julie Wilson, the creator of the study websites “Qwizzy’s World” and “Cram Stoppers.”

Over the past school year, Piney Grove Middle School teamed up with Wilson to test her curriculum with the sixth-graders there before the products’ launch date June 1.

“Our hope is to start here locally and hope the middle schools pick it up, and then it’ll branch out,” Wilson said. “It is going to go nationwide because it is Web-based. We can cover the nation. Anyone can access it and use it. We are just very excited.”

Wilson developed a study skills curriculum based on skills like time management, goal setting, organization and note taking when she noticed a need for it before children get to high school.

“My son ended up taking a reading strategies course, and when he finished, he was a junior in high school,” Wilson said. “He made a comment to me that he wished he had something like that in middle school. It struck me that maybe we needed something out there for middle school students that would allow them to put all in one place study skills.”

Wilson developed her curriculum and teamed up with the study skills teacher at Piney Grove Middle School, Sarah Whitfield. Every quarter during the 2012-2013 school year, two study skills classes were offered to sixth-graders.

The curriculum itself was developed for fifth- to eighth-graders as a preparatory for high school and college. The skill sets taught were also designed to be incorporated into core classes and for use by homeschooled children.

The program can be purchased online for $195 for the 2013-2014 licenses.

“The program is very real-world,” Whitfield said. “She tries to bring things in from outside of the classroom and make it very real. There are many discussions in the classroom and a lot of fun activities even with stuff that you wouldn’t normally think of as fun, like reading a textbook.”

Whitfield said the kids really enjoy the program because it is engaging and fun. It isn’t just a boring lecture and worksheets, she said.

“It’s really comprehensive with lots of different lessons on different study techniques, on different reading and writing techniques and just different ways on how to study and how to learn for the classroom,” Whitfield said. “I wholeheartedly recommend it, and I have been teaching for 11 years now.”

The parents are also in favor of the program, Whitfield said, because many will call in and ask for their child to be placed in the class. She said the parents love that their children are getting this experience and learning this material.

“Really, we don’t take the time to teach the students how to learn and how to study. We just expect it from them most of the time,” Whitfield said. “Kids don’t know how to do that. It just really gives kids the opportunity to figure out how to learn.”

Wilson said this program has completed the circle for her, because she was trying to get kids to start with this learning material and quiz creation.

“We are giving them a curriculum that helps them to enjoy what they are reading, decipher what they are reading and then move into studying it,” Wilson said.

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