Strategies for Learning

Knowing how to learn and study is an important part of the learning process and can make the difference between success and failure at the secondary level; unfortunately, many students, particularly students who have learning disabilities and attention disorders, enter high school without the study skills needed to be independent, efficient learners. As one teacher with large class sizes, I needed to find ways to support students who were struggling in my class, and there weren’t enough hours in the day to provide individual tutorial for these students. I realized they needed to be taught explicit strategies that would guide their thinking, facilitate comprehension, support attention, foster independent learning and produce cumulative review systems to be used when preparing to take tests. These strategies had to be simple, concrete and efficient so students would actually use the strategies that would improve their academic performance. Over time, a collection of strategies/techniques and tips to teach struggling students to do what successful learners did automatically evolved into a program that teachers, parents and students could use to improve performance.

The purpose of this book is to share a compilation of strategies that have been honed over the years so secondary students can be empowered in the learning process, whether in school or in the workforce. Organization is widely recognized as the key to success and the strategies are designed to supply the organizational systems needed to learn, understand and retain information/skills as well as build self-esteem through success.

Strategies for Learning is published by Corwin, and is designed to help teachers, tutors or parents who are working with secondary (and can be used for Middle School as well) be more efficient in their instruction, use of formats and explicit instruction. The manual called Independent Strategies for Efficient Study is the student manual that is used when teaching the strategies, and is not as in-depth as the Corwin book. There is also a manual that provides the lesson plans and sequence to actually teach the 6 hour course based on the program in the student manual. See Products for description of these material and ordering information.


“Strategies for Learning contains proven practical and explicit strategies that secondary students with learning disabilities can use to become independent and motivated learners. Wedding years of clinical experience with the most up-to-date research, Dr. Rooney provides teachers with evidence-based techniques they can use with their most difficult-to-teach students.”

—Daniel P. Hallahan
Charles S. Robb Professor of Education
Curry School of Education
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA

“Having used Dr. Rooney’s learning strategies formany years in public and private instructional settings, I can affirm their high-yield effectiveness. Best of all, students enjoy this ‘take charge’ approach to their own learning. The strategies are logical, concise, and excellent for students to achieve improved understanding, retention, and memory retrieval for concepts. This book is a must for teachers who want to help their students become independent, self-confident, and successful learners!”

—Rebecca H. Aldred, MEd
Reading Consultant and Private Tutor
Ivy Creek School
Charlottesville, VA

“A gate barring success often needs but the right key. Strategies for Learning provides keys to unlock the knowledge of how to learn for those who always possessed the ability to learn. The knowledge, instinct, dedication, and passion of Karen Rooney gives a special clarity and power to her instructional recommendations. I wish my teachers had this book when I was in school.”

—G. Emerson Dickman, JD
Immediate Past President
The International Dyslexia Association
Maywood, NJ

“A practical reference, this book adds useful learning strategies to teachers’ toolboxes. All students,whether or not they have learning disabilities, benefit from practicing how to learn!”

—Patricia W. Newhall
Associate Director
Landmark School Outreach Program
Prides Crossing, MA

“This book contains easy-to-implement strategies to successfully develop and maximize learning for all students.”

—Loukea Kovanis-Wilson
Chemistry Instructor
Clarkston High School
Clarkston, MI

“Dr. Rooney—You first put me on the road for success with the study skills you taught me. How they have paid off ! Thank you.”

Patrick Marshall Higgins
United States Army USMA 08

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