First and second graders do not take formal notes because the skill is developmentally inappropriate for young learners. Students in third grade are ready to begin rudimentary note taking, and some fourth grade teachers provide formal notes during instruction. Note taking becomes essential in fifth grade and beyond.
Because some teachers provide formal notes in the form of handouts, some students never learn how to transition to effective independent note taking. A simple discussion is often all it takes to make that leap. Remind your child that notes outline the information that the teacher deems important. Emphasize neatness. Clean, thorough notes save time—you don’t have to try to translate them later.
Encourage your child to experiment with different kinds of note taking (e.g., outlining a chapter, using a dedicated notebook, transcribing notes onto note cards, color coding, etc.). For note taking to be effective, he or she needs to find the method that works best.
Review note taking tips and strategies: highlight the information that seems most important. Encourage your child to take notes in class whether the teacher requires it or not.