As Memorial Day weekend passes, the school year nears a close and summer approaches, you might be wondering how to avoid “summer slide.” Many families have expressed that they are feeling tired, their students are burned out, and everyone is trying to suppress the urge to throw up their hands and be done with schoolwork for this academic year.
While giving yourself and your student(s) a bit of a break is worthwhile considering the craziness of these past few months, making sure students are staying engaged over the summer is equally as important. How do you do that in a way that your students want to learn? Which subjects should you be focusing on, and is it as easy as finding a big workbook? We answer all of those questions and more below.
What subjects should they be engaging with?
Students will benefit most from engaging with reading, writing, and math activities for short periods of time each day (think 10-20 minutes). With each activity, it is important to make sure your student chooses a method of learning that is intriguing to them. Packets and workbooks are dry and offer very little engagement, so find activities that incorporate movement, creativity, and fun.
Many times, students who review academic skills over the summer return to school feeling relieved and prepared rather than behind and stressed out from the get-go. In a perfect world, your student would be consistently excited about the prospect of learning, but we know your job as a parent is often picking your battles. We acknowledge and understand how difficult encouraging students to continue learning through the summer can be, and we are here to offer you tips as well as programs to make learning active, inspirational, fun, and memorable.
Allow students to read something they ENJOY! Some students love fiction while others could read graphic novels all day. Others still enjoy non-fiction, newspapers, or magazine articles. The key to getting students to read is finding something they naturally engage with instead of “assigning” them books or dictating what they read.
Another factor to consider is the reading format. Some students prefer a hard copy of a book while some are more comfortable with a Kindle. Another often discounted reading format is the audiobook! Amazon’s Audible offers endless options for listening to audiobooks. Ideally, a student will have access to an audiobook and a written version at the same time, but if you are on a family road trip, solely listening to the audiobook is still a great alternative. If the student is interested in both the genre and format of the book they are reading, they will be more motivated to read in small chunks each day.
Journaling can be a great way to incorporate writing into a student’s daily routine. This could look like bullet journaling or free journaling. Encourage your student to write about what they are doing (or aren’t). If writing journal entries does not interest your student, encourage them to make lists. These lists of things could include what they are grateful for or what they are learning throughout the summer. Writing requires some structure but not the same degree of structure students experience during a school day. Remember, you do not want to make writing a chore. It is all about engagement!
Math can be a hard subject to keep lively and exciting, but websites like BrainPop, Khan Academy, Math Antics, and IXL include games as a part of their programs. Students do not need to spend an hour on math each day, but a short period of review can pay dividends for their long-term skill retention. Math skills tend to build on themselves, so summer is a great opportunity to keep existing skills fresh or review harder skills in preparation for the next school year. Try incorporating math skills into everyday tasks like cooking, baking, finances, or telling time to build academic and life skills simultaneously.
Maybe you are reading this thinking, I’m just trying to make sure my kids get along…how am I supposed to get them excited about practicing academic skills during the summer? Great news! We created our Summer Programs specifically with YOU in mind! When we began creating our Summer Programs, the criteria were simple. Our programs needed to be interesting, useful, motivating, and most of all…FUN! We knew students would need some extra support and encouragement during this time.
Our Summer Programs are interactive, small group workshops designed to get students up and moving, teach the core skills of executive functioning, and break down academic content into manageable chunks. These programs offer students extra support and one-on-one tutoring in a way that makes learning something the student will enjoy rather than dread.
The foundation of our programs? Connection. We firmly believe that coaching with connection is the secret ingredient to getting students excited about learning and motivated to seek positive change in their academic lives and beyond.
We are at nearly the three-month mark of distance learning. Packets, workbooks, and Zoom calls are getting a little old, don’t you think?
About Evelyn Wright
Evelyn Wright is the Director of Wright Academics, a tutoring business created to target kids’ specific needs. Her passion is helping students and families succeed so that they achieve their maximum potential in and out of the classroom.
With over 25 years of experience working with children and their families in public and private schools, as well as in private practice, Evelyn’s focus is understanding the individual’s learning profile, guiding families of children with learning differences and matching students to the tutor or coach that best fits the student. She believes in not only matching educational needs to the right tutor’s skills, but matching a student to the tutor with the right personality.