February, 2003: Oakland Press
Susan Kruger was featured in this article in the Oakland Press.
Opening Up to Learning: Workshops help kids with attention deficit make the most of study time
by Tamara Moin
In a quiet corner of the house designated as a study area, Katie Houck, 12 struggles with her homework. The Grand Blanc Middle School student has spent the entire afternoon on this particular assignment, yet a large chunk of the task looms before her. She is dismayed as another sleepless night beckons.
Susan Woodcock, a Berkley teacher, says lack of study skills is a rising epidemic among students today. Woodcock, who specializes in teaching study skills and organizational strategies, believes the increase in a typical student’s workload warrants the development of innovative study techniques. In short, students now need to study smarter, not harder.
“Unfortunately, in an already demanding curriculum, most teachers don’t have the time to teach their students the skills they need for better time-management,” Woodcock says. As a result, an alarming number of students face situations similar to Katie’s,
Through her company, Lighthouse Learning and Organizing Services, Woodcock has launched a series of workshops designed to tutor students and parents alike in problem-solving techniques. The workshops were developed as a response to requests their from chagrined parents.
Her classes, offered at West Bloomfield High School, are designed to teach students how to increase efficiency and free up valuable time. “I’m not an advocate of all work and now play,” Woodcock says, “and that’s why it’s essential for students to get into a regular routine and learn how to pace themselves.”
One time-saving strategy Woodcock recommends to students, especially those in college, is paying attention to the pictures and graphs in a textbook. Publishers tend to spend a lot of money on color and detail, so illustrations serve as an effective tool for increasing reading comprehensions. “What’s written in the text really supports the illustrations,” Woodcock says.
Woodcock also offers a workshop that coaches parents in helping their children succeed. She says parents are essential to a child’s learning process. In elementary, as well as high school, “the interest and pride parents show in their child’s activities contributes to their success more than anything.”
While the workshops are for everyone, Woodcock takes a particular interest in gearing her work toward people with Attention Deficit Disorder, also known as ADD. “Some of the most brilliant people I’ve ever known suffer from ADD,” she says, “and all they really need is someone to show them how to focus themselves and make the most out of their time.” And that takes strategy she says.
Woodcock has a contract with West Bloomfield Schools to teach at night, and plays to continue her classes in the future. “I’m always open to new ideas, and my workshops adapt based on the feedback I receive from students and parents,” she says. “(The classes) are always improving.”
Tonight, in a quiet corner of the house designated “study area,” Katie tackles her homework. It has been two months since she enrolled in Woodcock’s workshop, and her parents, Laurie and Jeff, have already noticed a dramatic improvement in her grades and study habits.
Katie smiles. Tonight, she will sleep well.