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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

It’s hard to know exactly how much learning students have lost due to school closures because the level of learning that students have engaged in varies by school, district, and by individual household. But what we do know is that 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 completely virtual summer learning 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!

Tips for a Summer Blue Ribbon Contest:

  • Before the school year ends, give students a Blue Ribbon or questions goal to work toward over the summer.
  • Award prizes based on the number of Blue Ribbons students earn or questions they answer

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 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.
  • 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.

Want to learn more about how to implement your own Study Island summer virtual learning program? Watch our previously recorded webinar on Summer Virtual Learning With Study Island!

This blog was originally published on May 1, 2018. 

regina.waddell's picture
Regina Waddell

Regina Waddell is a marketing manager at Edmentum and over the past 8 years has helped both educators and Edmentum employees learn how to successfully implement technology in the classroom. Before her time at Edmentum, Regina spent seven years teaching; two years helping students increase their scores on college entrance exams in the private sector, and five teaching bilingual education in Dallas, TX. Regina holds a BBA from Austin College and an M.Ed in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Texas at Arlington.