BALTIMORE, MD--(Marketwire - August 18, 2010) -  The first day back to school can be a source of anxiety for both children and parents as they adjust to new routines, new teachers and friends, forthcoming homework assignments and, ultimately, tests. To help parents and students kick start the new school year successfully, Sylvan Learning, the nation's premier provider of tutoring, is offering five critical steps to help families make learning fun and easy.

"The most common problems that keep students from studying effectively are in a few key areas, including knowing how to approach information, comprehension, test-taking methods, and personal learning styles," says Richard E. Bavaria, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Education Outreach for Sylvan Learning. "By taking just a few simple steps, families and students can plan effective study skills for a successful academic school year."

Five Effective Study Skills for Families:

1) Partnership for Success
Very often parents keep telling their children to improve their grades without pinpointing a child's area for improvement. Communicate with your child and identify the changes that need to be made to bring grades up and improve learning. Let them take responsibility for their learning success. Very often a child may not be aware of the areas that need work. As a parent you can partner with your child in identifying areas that need remediation and then work together to improve them.

2) Time and Place is Critical
The setting and time for studying can affect a child's productivity. Some children are more alert in the morning, others in the evening. One child may work well at a desk with quiet music in the background while another functions better spread out across the floor in complete silence. Parents can assist in recognizing when a student works best and create a schedule around their child's learning style.

3) The Ultimate Objective
When it's time to hit the books, parents can lead their children to critically break down the information or assignment before it breaks down the students' self-esteem. Discuss why she is reading a particular chapter or working on a specific assignment. What kind of questions will be answered? What kind of test might be given about this material? Take the time to explain the purpose of going through this process of learning and how this study method will help her succeed.

4) Celebrate Achievements
Don't wait until your child brings home an "A" to celebrate. Show him that you are confident in his abilities, and reward the little things. Reinforce not just excellence but also improvements and progress. These are all signs of a strong study skills foundation, one step at a time.

5) One on One
Individual instruction can help develop strong study skills, particularly if your child needs increased attention. Maintain regular communication with your child's teacher because most teachers will know whether your child has an underlying problem with study habits.

"Helping your child develop effective study skills is critical to academic success, not just in school and college but also in preparation for the challenges of the real world," added Dr. Bavaria. "As you outfit your children with the latest gear for back to school, make sure that you also empower them to succeed academically in the new school year by understanding their personal learning style."

To understand a child's learning style and lay the foundation for a better school year, Sylvan Learning is offering parents a FREE Learning Style quiz.

Parents can visit to take the quiz and better understand their child's learning personality.

For more information on back to school resources offered by Sylvan Learning, please visit or call 1-800-31-SUCCESS.

About Sylvan Learning
Sylvan Learning is the leading provider of tutoring to students of all ages, grades and skill levels. With 30 years of experience and more than 900 centers located throughout North America, Sylvan's proven process and personalized methods have inspired more than 2 million students to discover the joy of learning. Sylvan's trained and Sylvan-certified personal instructors provide individual instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, study skills and test-prep for college entrance and state exams. Sylvan helps kids develop the skills, habits and attitudes needed for lifelong success. Visit to share your personal academic experiences and comment on academic trends. For more information, call 1-800-31-SUCCESS or visit