The summer break is almost here, which means that students eagerly await relaxed schedules and time spent with friends and family instead of schoolwork. And while everyone can appreciate some time off to relax, the academic consequences of an entire summer off does have an impact on students. In fact, ASCD has reported that, on average, elementary students lose one month of learning over the summer.
What can be done to encourage summer learning? Here are three tips to make the summer months an academically productive time and ensure that students come back refreshed and ready to continue learning!
1. Encourage routine reading
Numerous studies have concluded that reading regularly is one of the most effective ways students can avoid summer learning losses. As a teacher, one of the best things you can do for your students over their break is to build excitement around reading as a summer activity. Send your students home with summer reading lists and how they can access them —and talk up your selections before you do so! Community libraries often provide lots of great summer reading programs. Do some research on your local library’s offerings, and share that information with your students and their parents.
2. Offer structured summer learning programs
Summer school doesn’t have to be reserved for remediation or credit recovery. It’s also a great way to offer all students opportunities to get ahead or pursue subjects and activities they may not have time for during the regular school year. Online programs are one effective way to offer these opportunities, especially if school resources are stretched. Programs like Edmentum’s Courseware offer extensive libraries of core and elective courses, including Career and Technical Education courses, to engage students with real-world learning. Summer programs can also be a great chance to partner with businesses and community organizations to give students new, relevant, and exciting learning experiences.
3. Highlight DIY projects
Ultimately, what students and educators both love about summer vacation is the freedom to build one’s own agenda—and that can certainly include educational experiences. Push your students to take time over the summer to develop and complete a couple of do-it-yourself projects of their own choosing. There is no need to put parameters on these projects; encourage your students to dive into a topic that interests them in a manner that gets them excited. If you do any “genius hour” in your classroom, this kind of summer learning will be a natural extension for your students. Be sure to tell your students to come back to say hi in the fall and show off the outcome of their summer projects to you!
You could always push your students to try some of these great blended learning ideas for over the summer!