In order for students to become independent and competent learners, they need to possess strong study skills. In other words, they need to understand and use strategies to help them manage their time, materials, and language. Many students diagnosed with a specific learning disability (SLD) benefit greatly from direct instruction in study skills, including methods and strategies to help them organize their materials, organize and integrate new information and ideas, and manage their time to set and achieve goals. It is also important to note that students must have literacy skills to access class content and express what they know. Study skills support literacy skills and vice versa, but first students must be able to read and write.
One of the most visible ways students can demonstrate difficulty with study skills is in managing their materials. It is common for teachers to see students with messy backpacks or students who cannot remember or find important materials for class. This can be a point of stress for both teachers and students, and without directly addressing this need, students will continue to struggle. As children progress through grades, the expectations of being able to manage and remember their materials increases. Like many other areas of instruction designed to support students with specific learning disabilities, creating and sticking to study skills routines is essential in helping students learn and eventually independently use strategies to organize their materials.
The goal of teaching materials management is to help students develop and follow a routine to manage their school materials. With clear structures and routines in place students will be able to: