Five Ideas for Summer Learning
As the 2020-21 school year winds to a close, right now is a good time to begin planning for our students’ continued learning throughout the long summer. For any student, it is easy to forget material (especially math and science) or to lose those consistent study habits and organizational skills that we’ve established during the school year. Many of the students that we continue to work with during the summers find it easier to transition back to school in the fall. We also see improvements on their standardized test scores.
Here are five ideas for summer learning that can help ensure that our students are continuously being challenged and establishing good habits.
Most colleges will require either an ACT or an SAT score for admission, and students will begin the process during their sophomore or junior years. The first step in preparing for the exams is to establish a “target score”. Many Minnesota high schools will administer a practice version of each exam that serves as an introduction to the process and also helps students discover any gaps in their learning. Based on the results of this trial run, or if a student has already taken the actual exam, we should be able to set a realistic goal together.
Our ACT Development Program is perfect for younger students who are motivated to build their skills and refine their test-taking strategies. The program is specifically tailored to each student’s current ability level and main areas of need. While our program runs throughout the entire year, we find that it is most successful in the summer when students have time to fully commit to mastering the concepts on the ACT.
Read and Write Everyday
The summer is the perfect time for our students to pick up something to read that suits their interests. It can be easy for students to become frustrated with reading if they’re forced to read literature in school that they don’t enjoy. Just as physical exercise strengthens our bodies, reading can improve brain function by increasing knowledge, building vocabulary, and developing imagination.
While students perhaps have more literature at their fingertips than any generation before them, research shows that children are actually reading less often than ever. We should consistently push our students to read more in order to explore topics and worlds that may increase their awareness and ignite their imagination.
Writing is also an important skill that can be honed through practice. Whether it be creative writing, nonfiction prompts, or journal entries, we encourage our students to write daily.
Review Math and Get a Head Start on Next Year
Math constantly builds on itself. Over the course of several summer months, it can be easy to forget material learned during previous semesters. Students that pass on practicing during the summer often spend extra time during the school year reviewing or relearning lower level math concepts.
For high school students, it’s particularly important to take as many math classes as soon as possible, and to avoid any gap semesters, in order to best prepare for standardized tests such as the ACT. Without constant practice during the summer, it’s common for key concepts and formulas to “slide” away. Our tutors help students stay sharp with student-specific plans that focus on material review, grade level preparation, and real world applications.
Practice Language Skills
As stated in a previous blog post, the best time to learn a language is now. The resources before us to gain cultural awareness and language fluency are seemingly endless. While summer presents it’s own obligations, the opportunity to stay sharp in a foreign language is enticing, especially with potential travel plans post-Covid. Our tutors work with students every summer to reinforce grammar concepts and increase vocabulary.
Work on a Summer Project
In order to construct student-specific plans, we need to learn about our students’ interests and challenge them in ways that spark curiosity and develop analytical skills. Summer learning presents the unique opportunity and time to explore hands-on projects that cater to each individual student and skill level.