5 Simple Strategies for Note-Taking

By Amanda Morin
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Note-taking doesn’t come easily to all kids, especially those who struggle with organizational skills. Here are some simple note-taking strategies for you to review with your child.

The Split-Page Method of Note-Taking (aka the Cornell Method)

Have your child draw a horizontal line across the page two inches from the bottom. Then about two inches from the left side, she should draw a line from top down to the horizontal line. This splits the page into three sections: a narrow column, a wide column and a box on the bottom.

The wide column is where your child can write down the main points of the teacher’s lesson or what she’s reading. After taking those notes, your child can use the narrow column to note questions and key vocabulary. And in the box, she can write a summary of the lesson.

The 2-6 Method of Note-Taking

Your child should begin by writing the name of the class and the date on the top of the page. Then, she can trace the vertical red line on the left-hand side of her notebook page to make two columns, one that’s two inches wide and one that’s six inches wide.

The wide column is for taking notes during class. Afterward, your child should write the most important points in the narrow column. Then she can flip the page over and use the back to take notes as she reads the textbook chapter on the same topic.

The Outline Method of Note-Taking

The outline method of taking notes asks your child to divide what she’s hearing or reading into main ideas, subtopics and details. This helps her figure out the relative importance of each fact or idea she’s learning.

Your child should begin on the left side of the page and write down the first main idea. Underneath the main topic, she can list subtopics, leaving room to add details about each one.

The Bullet Point Method of Note-Taking

This method is similar to the Outline method, but not as structured. Your child can choose a symbol to use before a main idea (such as #). She’ll also need a symbol for subtopics (such as +) and one for supporting details (such as *).

Then as she takes notes about what she reads or hears, she can use those symbols to help her keep straight which pieces of information fit together and how. See above for an example of how the symbols work.

The Mapping Method of Note-Taking

The mapping method of taking notes is a great system for kids who tend to be visual learners. Your child writes down a word, phrase or main idea anywhere on the page. As the teacher lectures, she continues to write down key ideas.

Then your child draws lines to connect things that go together. The page will look like a map because many of the ideas will be connected to each other. And when she reviews her notes, she’ll be able to see how a main idea leads to a subtopic and then to the details that support the subtopic.

About the Author

About the Author

Amanda Morin 

worked as a classroom teacher and as an early intervention specialist for 10 years. She is the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education. Two of her children have learning differences.

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Jenn Osen-Foss, MAT 

is an instructional coach, supporting teachers in using differentiated instruction, interventions, and co-planning.

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