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4 Ways to Keep Students Learning This Summer with Study Island

4 Ways to Keep Students Learning This Summer with Study Island

This summer, continued learning is going to be more important than ever. With varied school closures, virtual days, and changing learning environments, it is hard to say how much unfinished learning we will be looking at this year, but what we do know is that each summer, learning loss occurs. Most students lose two months of math skills every summer, and two-thirds of the achievement gap in reading between low-income students and their middle-income peers can be attributed to summer learning loss in elementary school. Because of this, 9 in 10 teachers spend at least three weeks re-teaching lessons when school begins again. Why accept summer learning loss when you can fight it? With Study Island, you can run a summer learning (virtual or in person!) program consisting of skills practice in all core content areas, as well as additional activities in writing and reading.

Check out these four tips to keep students learning over the summer.

1. Skills Practice

Skills practice is a great way to ensure that 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. Here are a couple of ways to get started:

  • Assign students specific topics through the class manager.

  • Have students work directly from the Study Island topics page, promoting consistent practice by creating 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.
2. Summer Writing

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 prebuilt 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 that all assignments are active at the end of the school year.

  • Give feedback on students’ writing submissions to provide encouragement and help them improve.

  • Have students print out and turn in their writing portfolios 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 that you can reinforce summer reading are to create a summer reading program in which students read self-selected books and to launch a book study program where students all read the same book.

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.
4. Summer Blue Ribbon or Questions 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 or questions contest. All you need is Internet access, student logins, and some prizes, and then you’re all set! Not sure where to start? Check out our Build Your Own Study Island Contest toolkit! It’s chalk full of step-by-step instructions, tools and tips for running the contest, and how-to-videos to ensure your contest is a success.

Summer Virtual Learning Program Tips for Success

If your school isn’t holding summer school in person this year, you can still run multiple programs this summer virtually. Whether you decide to implement skills practice, summer writing, summer reading, or a Blue Ribbon contest, it’s key to ensure that students are engaged, expectations are clear, and parents are bought 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 and recreation centers, where students can use a public computer and access a free Internet connection if you plan to implement your program virtually.

  • Involve parents. Because this program will be taking place away from school, parental support is critical to the program’s success. Host a parent night before the school year 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. You can even use this letter to encourage parents to support their child's Study Island use over the summer!

Are you in need of more resources for planning your summer learning programs? Check out our Summer Planing Toolkit!

This blog was originally published on May 2020 and has been updated. 

brittany.becker's picture
Brittany Becker

Brittany Becker currently serves as a Marketing Specialist at Edmentum, and has been with the company since 2016. Before her time at Edmentum, Brittany studied both Early Childhood and Elementary Education, and eventually went on to teach 4th grade in Title 1 schools. Because of her background in education, Brittany is passionate about providing educators across the United States and the world with the tools and best practices to empower their students each day in the classroom.