Find out what people are saying about Study Smart!

Hey, Gina,
I thought I'd email you and tell you that I got a 90 on my first history test! I only missed one question. I followed the test rules you told me. I wanted to thank you again for all thehelp you gave me andall the tools you taught me. I appreciate it so much!!! Thank you so much!

God Bless,


Student, Stephen F. Austin State University

Mrs. Johnson,
It's amazing that my son Ty was so positive about your course. I can't remember his instructor's name; she filled in for someone who was originally supposed to teach that section. She's great. Ty is extremely ADD, but he actually said positive things about the course when I picked him up each day. Usually, even if he likes something, he is reluctant to let me know -- especially if the idea for it originated with me.

The next school day, he looked for your manual before school so he could take it with him. If you knew him, you would understand how unusual that is. Now, several weeks later, he's showing us a method you gave him to organize and plan ahead. And he is USING it!!!!!!!

I'm so grateful for this. I can't know right away all the ways you may have helped because he doesn't share every detail with us - Two reasons for this: sometimes it doesn't occur to him that we want to know. Sometimes, he doesn't want us to have the satisfaction of knowing because he perceives some of our attempts to help as interference with his business and his life. I think this is pretty typical stuff.

Anyway, we are very happy to see these signs of your influence. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Sue Robins

I just wanted to let you know that my son told me that using the techniques to taught him to study some every day meant he only had to study for about 20 minutes for his calculus final! He got an A!

Thank you!



I want to thank you for your program. My daughter took your class
last summer as she started the 7th grade. This year, for the first time
ever, she became an A/B student (with a C thrown in here and there).
Prior to your class, she usually made Cs, Ds, and Fs. I can't tell you
what a boost to all of us this has been. Thank you.

Becky Burkett


I wanted to let you know that my daughter, Renee, really enjoyed the Study Smart workshop. When I first brought up the prospect of it, she said, "Sure!" But when it came time to go, she was very aprehensive. Afterwards, she said she really got a lot out of it.

As a high school student, Renee could listen in class and get good grades. It didn't work in college. She's a junior now and she needed something. Since starting college, she seemed to always have a B average until finals and then her grades always dropped. High school was easy, but college doesn't work the same way. I'll let you know after finals, but Renee was really glad she took the class.
Thanks again!


Derek thoroughly enjoyed the course, the lecturer, and the attending students. We would highly recommend this course to any student interested in improving note and test taking, as well as improving study habits.
Thank you for your help.
Ann Conrad

 I just wanted to let you know that my daughter has really shown some progress already. She came home from the first night after Study Smart and said she already knew everything you had talked about that night but had not been doing it. I asked her why and she said she did not know. I communicated this info to Maria Brockie, her counselor at First Colony Middle School, and she had a visit with her regarding what she learned and suggesting ways to apply studying given her visual learning style; essentially, encouraging her to apply what what she had learned but it wasn't coming from Mom or Dad but someone else. As of this 2nd week of the new 6-weeks, my daughter has a 90 average in US History which she had a 73 in last 6-weeks!!! She is scheduling her studying days in advance and realizes she needs to study in small segments over a few days rather than cram the night before. I very much appreciate the progress we've seen so far and am looking forward to continued success.

You may want to suggest to other parents to make sure to get their children's teachers and counselors on their side for this. I have found previous to this that they are always willing to help.


Carol McD

My daughter took Study Smart from Ms. Beth and is USING it! She didn't need the organizational part very much. For her, a lot of it was a confidence booster. She would really get freaked out about tests. That doesn't happen any more. She's doing great. Her reading comprehension wasn't bad before but after the class, it went through the roof! Now I'm signing up my fifth grader.

Kim Cauthorn


. . . I want to tell you that your efforts have been appreciated. Matthew must have been in 6th grade when he took your class. . . . At the time, he was home schooling and we found it difficult to integrate the principles of your class into his work. However, now as a Sophomore at Dulles, he is a straight A student in all advanced classes, and told me just recently that he remembers several things from your class that are helping him now!! . .

God bless you!

Carole Mixon

...Your class made all the difference ­ my son is now getting straight A's. Thanks, but hopefully we won't need any more classes.

Vicky Morris

 My son was really uptight about starting middle school.  The Study Smart Workshops gave him the skills he needed so he didn't have to worry all summer.

S.C., Parent

I never had to study before.  I just got by in high school.  I knew college would be a different story.  Now I have the skills to succeed in college, not just get by.

L.M., Texas A&M

I'm so proud of myself!  I never thought I'd make the honor roll until I took the Study Smart program!  I now take honors courses with confidence.

R.J., Stafford High School

The parents of our students are thrilled with the Study Smart program.  Our students are truly prepared for high school when they leaves here with the Study Smart skills.

Bill VanDyke, Middle School Principal

My son Amer loved the class. His grades have gone up because he is more conscious of studying. Before, he was a B to B+ student, and now he is getting A's. He liked the organization the best and asked me to get everything that was suggested in class. He showed me how he set up his notebook. Very impressive!

Urmila Kumas

 If you are a Houston Chronicle Subscriber, you can link to an article about Study Smart (You may need your subscriber number to do so.)

Program builds on strengths / A former struggling student uses experience to help teach others
By FLORI MEEKS, Houston Chronicle correspondent Printed in the Houston Chronicle on Thursday Feb. 6, 2003.

Workshop helps kids improve their study skills
Interview with Kristi Nakamura, News24Houston

Aired 2/26/2003 5:18 PM
By: Kristi Nakamura

Study Smart improves students' study skills. Students all over Texas are taking the TAKS test this week, and education officials are projecting many will fail.

One local program aims to help students be more successful in their studies.

Kristi Nakamura tells us about the Study Smart workshop, a program that helps students improve their study skills

In just six hours, Gina Johnson says, she can teach your child to improve their study skills, get more organized and learn more. She can do all of this through her Study Smart workshop.

Johnson says these skills are in demand. Statistics show 60 percent of 10th graders failed the English section of last year's TAKS test trial run and 40 percent failed the math.

"We teach the students how to keep track of their schoolwork, how to manage their time, how to plan ahead for major projects. We teach them how -- first of all we help them identify their learning styles and then we teach them how to study, what to do during their study time so that they're using their strengths," said Study Smart founder Gina Johnson.

Study Smart is offered both to schools and individually to students.

And Johnson says the skills she's teaching to these students won't just help them pass a test or get better grades, but will help them to be successful throughout their lives.

Gina Johnson's workshops are offered all over the Houston area.
For more information, go to www.studysmart.net.

 Workshops offer students skills to make learning easier

By: TARA MULLEE, Villager staff December 26, 2003

Gina Johnson invokes an old adage when describing the purpose of the Study Smart business she founded: Give a man -- or in this case, a student -- a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime.

Gina Johnson invokes an old adage when describing the purpose of the Study Smart business she founded: Give a man -- or in this case, a student -- a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime.
Learning how to fish, in Johnson's workshop, means learning how to adapt study methods so that students can be successful in school, no matter what the subject.
The idea for the workshop came from a friend whose son she had been tutoring. Johnson realized he lacked study skills, so in 1994 she began researching the topic. Her friend urged to her to put together a workshop to teach more students, not just her son, how to study.
Johnson did so, and she held the first Study Smart class in the summer of 1995 in Sugar Land, near her home in Fort Bend, where her two children attend middle school and high school.
Johnson began teaching in 1985 at a private high school in Michigan. She taught speech, composition, debate, drama and home economics. Then she worked for a while as a program director for a church and tutored on the side. She has never worked as a full-time employee for a public school, but she has been contracted to give workshops at public schools.
For Study Smart, Johnson said she employs six state-certified teachers, some of whom also teach full time or are substitute teachers. One of the employees, Michele Jones, will be teaching workshops next month in The Woodlands.
The workshops consist of two-hour sessions once a week for three weeks. In the first session, Johnson said, the teacher helps the students identify their learning styles.
Auditory learners need to hear subjects explained out loud to them, Johnson said, and need to talk to themselves, either aloud or silently, to clarify information.
Visual learners should use flashcards, picture concepts in their heads and read. If they are learning a foreign language, it's helpful for them to label objects around the house to learn their names.
Kinesthetic learners, Johnson said, need to move around while they study and be active in their learning. She said laboratory assignments are helpful, as is acting out literature to remember the characters. Kinesthetic learners can't pay attention when they are forced to sit still, she said, so Study Smart teaches them ways to move without bothering other people.
Tactile learners are those who need to write, draw, take careful notes and draw pictures to retain information. Johnson described it as a connection between the brain and a pencil or keyboard.
After determining the students' learning styles in the first session, Johnson said the teacher asks them what their hardest classes are and then tells them how to adapt their styles to those classes. For example, students should ask questions that best accommodate their styles.
"A visual learner is going to say, 'Will you please show me how to do this?' and an auditory learner is going to say, 'Would you please explain this to me?'" Johnson said.
"We're teaching them not only how to study using their skills but also how to work in the classroom using their learning strengths," she said.
The first session also deals with organization. Each student gets a four-color pen and learns to organize by color, Johnson said. The students also learn to use planners and to write down the day assignments are due instead of the day they are assigned. That way, Johnson said, students develop the habit of looking ahead to the next day, week and month.
Johnson expanded her workshops to The Woodlands in December 2002. The next workshops will begin at The Woodlands United Methodist Church in the new year. High school students can attend on Jan. 14, 21 and 28. Fourth-graders, fifth-graders and middle school students can attend Feb. 4, 11 and 18. Johnson said she also offers workshops for college students and adults.
Study Smart starts at fourth grade because that's usually a major transition year for students, Johnson said.
"It's when they go from learning to read to reading to learn, in many cases," she said.
In other words, instead of reading "Charlotte's Web" to increase reading skills, fourth-graders begin reading textbooks to learn about social studies, science and other subjects.
Fourth grade is also a year when the amount of homework increases, Johnson said, and Study Smart teaches students how to deal with that workload, in addition to teaching them time management, note-taking and test-taking skills, the basics of speed reading and how to comprehend what they read.
April Mukhar, of Sugar Land, enrolled her son, Chris, and her daughter, Ashley, in the workshop in August 2002. Ashley, then 11, was about to start sixth grade and was also moving from public school to private school. Chris was already in private school.
Although both of them had been doing well in their classes, Mukhar wanted to make sure her children did not fall behind as a result of extracurricular activities or the increase in schoolwork as they got older. She signed them up after hearing about Study Smart through a friend.
"My husband and I actually gave it to them as a gift," Mukhar said, "just to help them be the best that they could be and to study smarter and to do it as quickly as possible because they both love sports. And we just wanted them to be able to make the best use of their time and to give them all the tools that they needed to do their best."
At first, Mukhar said, her children weren't too keen on going, but they loved learning the speed reading, which she said Chris uses a lot in his classes.
"As a parent, I just felt really good that I had given them the tools that they needed to succeed," she said.
After putting her children through the workshop, Mukhar felt they were prepared for the move to the next grade.
"When they're transitioning from elementary, where the parents are very much involved, and they're moving to middle school, it's a transition time where (Study Smart) helps them to do more things on their own, where the parent backs off and is not as much involved," Mukhar said. "And when they have the tools to do that, it's easier for them, I think -- easier for the parent, too."
Johnson doesn't forget to involve the parents in the workshop. At end of the last session, parents come in and the teacher reviews with them what their children learned, advises them to make sure the children read the take-home workshop guide at least once a year to refresh their memories and gives them tips for handling homework to make school easier for the whole family, Johnson said.
Each workshop has a maximum of 12 students, Johnson said, so registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. For information about Study Smart, call (281) 265-3828 or visit the Web site www.aboutstudysmart.com.

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