4 Ways to Keep Students Learning this Summer Using Study Island

Thursday, May 26, 2016 -- Regina Waddell

Why accept summer learning loss when you can fight it with Study Island? Study Island is a great tool to run a completely virtual summer learning program consisting of skills practice in all core content areas, summer writing practice, and summer reading. Check out these four tips to keep students learning over the summer.

1. Skills Practice

Skills practice is a great way to ensure students continue learning all summer long. Why not give it a shot this summer by running your own summer skills practice program with Study Island? You can have students earn Blue Ribbons throughout the vacation months by asking them to demonstrate mastery in Study Island topics. To get started, simply:

  • Assign students specific topics through class manager, or
  • Have students work directly from the Study Island topics page and create a calendar that explains which topics to work on each day.

If you will be actively monitoring Study Island over the summer, you can also respond to student questions through the Study Island Message center.

Study Island Class Manager

2. Summer Writing

Summer is a great time for students to hone their writing skills in preparation for the next grade level. Summer writing activities give students the opportunity to practice different types of writing including skills-based writing, creative writing, and reflective writing (where students respond to a current event, linked news story, or piece of literature). Study Island Writing Assignments give you the flexibility to either assign one of our pre-built writing prompts or create your own. As an added benefit, students’ writing portfolios will give their new teachers valuable insights into students’ writing styles, interests, strengths, and weaknesses.

Summer Writing Practice Tips:

  • Create assignments ahead of time and provide clear due dates. Make sure all assignments are active at the end of the school year.
  • Give feedback on students’ writing submissions to provide encouragement and to help them improve.
  • Have students print out and turn in their writing portfolio at the end of the summer to earn a reward or entrance into a summer learning celebration. 

3. Summer Reading

Reading over the summer is one of the simplest ways for students to combat boredom; increase vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension skills; and explore books that they don't have time to read during the school year. Two effective ways you can reinforce summer reading are to either create a summer reading program in which students read self-selected books, or launch a book study program where students all read the same book.

Study Island Reading Assignments

Tips for a Self-Selected Reading Program

  • Assign a specific amount of reading time each day. If you’re also launching a skills practice program, this can be added to the same calendar.
  • Use Study Island Writing Assignments to create weekly open-ended reading reflection prompts. Prompts should be general enough to apply to any book.
  • Ensure that your students have access to a variety of books at their reading levels by offering addresses to local libraries, helping students obtain library cards, and teaching students strategies for selecting books at an appropriate level for them.

Tips for Summer Book Study

  • Select specific books for students to read over the summer. Select several options for students to choose from and give students the freedom to pick which book study to participate in. This way they are more likely to begin reading a book that they will enjoy.
  • Use Study Island Writing Assignments to assign open-ended questions for students to respond to each week.
  • Use Study Island Custom Material to create custom quizzes containing multiple choice, short answer, and true-false questions. These quizzes can be assigned to students with specific due dates that align with the pace at which students should be reading.

Study Island Reading Comprehension Question

4. Summer Blue Ribbon Contest

Want to keep students working over the summer without running a full program? No problem! You can quickly and easily run a simple Study Island Blue Ribbon contest. All you need is internet access, student logins, and some prizes and you’re all set! Before the school year ends, give students a Blue Ribbon goal to work towards this summer and allow them to earn prizes based on the number of Blue Ribbons they earn along the way. No setup required!

Summer Virtual Learning Program Tips For Success

You can run multiple programs this summer, or just one. But, regardless of whether you decide to implement a skills practice, summer writing, summer reading program, or Blue Ribbon contest, it’s key to ensure that students are engaged, expectations are clear, and that you have parent buy-in. Here are some tips for enhancing the overall success of your summer program:

  • Set clear expectations. Be sure that students know what to do and how to access the program.
  • Ensure that all students have access to a computer or mobile device and the internet. All of your students may not have home internet access, so it will be helpful to provide a list of places in the community, like public libraries or recreation centers, where students can use a public computer and access free internet.
  • Involve parents. Because this program will be taking place away from school, parent support is critical to the program’s success. Host a parent night before school ends to fully explain expectations and gain buy-in. Be sure to provide student logins and collect email addresses from parents. This will help as you set up Study Island Parent Notifications.

Want to learn more about how to implement your own Study Island Summer Virtual Learning program? Check out our Study Island Summer Virtual Learning onDemand video or download this guide!