Notes on Note-Taking

Notes on Note-Taking

Notes on Note-Taking

Learning how to study is an integral part of helping prepare children to succeed in school, particularly as they begin to progress to higher grade levels.  Note-taking is one of the first tools that students should master to help them retain, organize and understand new material. Most parents probably grew up taking notes with pen and paper, but many children today are probably taking notes using laptops instead which may lead to the question:  What is the most effective way to teach note-taking?

Although taking notes on a computer is faster than writing longhand, research has shown that students retain a greater amount of information and are better able to apply it conceptually if they hand-write their notes. Writing by hand forces a student to be more selective about what they are writing which improves their ability to summarize and paraphrase the information they are learning. This leads to a better understanding of the material that is being taught.  

At Neighborhood Lit, we begin teaching note-taking to our 4th, 5th and 6th grade classes as a way to introduce and practice comprehension skills. When a comprehension skill is introduced,  students take notes on the topic in their personal Writer’s Notebook and then participate in an activity that allows them to practice that skill. We call this process, “Note-Booking”. Not only does Note-Booking give them an opportunity to practice writing information down and how to take notes, but it also provides them with a creative resource to refer to later when they are writing. Our students love doing this! Check out some of their comments about Note-Booking:

“Note-Booking has helped me in school because I can now understand books better.  I’m getting reading and writing tips. My handwriting is much better” - James B.

“It helps because it is more organized and I understand more when I read” - Brady J.

“...All the writing in the notebook has helped me in school in ELA because my first writing about my book was a 70 then 78, 80, 100 and again 100 (and) that’s how my grades got better…” - Denise H.  

The act of writing information down and learning how to take notes effectively is an important study skill that helps students understand and retain information better than simply listening or recording everything they hear.  Note-Booking is a powerful yet fun way to help students improve their note-taking skills.  

Any questions?  Please email us at  Taylor Burke is a teacher and Director of Communications at Neighborhood Lit. and works closely with Janice Migliazza, a Reading Specialist and owner of Neighborhood Lit, Route 34, Colts Neck to bring you this information.