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3 scientifically proven ways to improve kids' studying

What does science say about improving learning and retention?

BROOKLYN, Ohio — At the Cuyahoga County Public Library's branch in Brooklyn on Wednesday night, about a dozen kids took advantage of free tutoring at one of the library's homework centers, where teachers and certified tutors are on hand in the afternoons to help students, K-8, with their schoolwork.

"We might use colors so they can memorize,like if we're doing animals -- all herbivores in one color, and omnivores in another color," said Nicole Cioban, a teacher who oversees the homework center.

Organize material using color

Science tells us Cioban's color-coding method can improve learning. The National Institutes of Health published one study that found that adding color to learning material had a significant effect on memory, by increasing the chances of material to be stored and retrieved successfully.

Write notes, instead of typing them

In today's world of technology, in which school laptops are standard equipment for 6th graders, there is strong evidence that suggests students should put the laptops away when taking notes in class, and use good old fashioned paper and pen.

A Princeton University study found the extra brain processing from note-taking by hand improved learning and retention.

Chew gum

Maybe students should be encouraged, not punished for chewing gum in class, if you follow research by St. Lawrence University in New York. It found students performed better on tests if they chewed gum prior to taking the test. A U.K study found people who chewed gum performed 24-percent better on memory test than those who did not. Japanese researchers found brain activity in the area for memory increases when people chew, but it's not clear why.