As the end of the school year approaches, many educators ask, "How can I support my students through the summer?" Students work hard to build, refine, and hone their literacy skills throughout the year, so maintaining that momentum is crucial. While the long vacation can provide much-needed rest and relaxation, it’s important to provide proper support to keep their skills sharp and their learning on the right path to avoid losing progress.
As educational leaders, it's our responsibility to ensure that our students have the tools they need to succeed, not just during the academic year but also during the seasonal gap. With a variety of tips and strategies, you can support your students on their journey while preventing the pesky "summer slide."
Here are some tips to support our students over the summer break:
1) Encourage independent reading.
Provide families with a list of books that are at an appropriate reading level for their students to read independently over the summer. Encourage them to select books that interest them–the more aligned the topic is to the student’s interests, the more reason they have to read! Using the Five-Finger Rule, you can quickly find suggestions for high-interest books that align with our students' interests and reading levels.
To ensure students absorb the content effectively, ask them to write a short summary of each book they read or provide worksheets with open-ended questions relating to their plot, characters, or setting. You can do this easily with the A+ Worksheet Maker Lite.
2) Provide engaging writing prompts.
Motivate students to practice writing daily with fun writing prompts. Prompt topics can range from writing a short story or a personal narrative to writing a letter to a friend or family member. Our Reading & Writing Packs bundles are the perfect tool to get the job done with grade-appropriate books, writing journals, and more.
3) Make reading a shared experience.
Encourage families to set aside time each day for reading. Parents can read aloud to their children or take turns reading to each other. To make it more engaging, have families participate in a reading challenge where they keep track of the number of books they read over the summer and provide small rewards for reaching milestones.
As teachers, we can also provide reading logs or trackers for our students to use and encourage families to share their progress with us. By making reading a family activity, we can help our students see the importance of reading and develop positive reading habits that will serve them well throughout their academic careers.
Our Student Writing Bundles provide instructions to structure your student’s summer reading around a carefully selected children’s book and our time-tested reading and writing materials. These bundles will help you encourage students to read and write throughout the summer and beyond. Each bundle includes suggestions and at-home activities to reinforce reading, writing, and social-emotional skills.
4) Connect reading to real-life experiences.
Help students see the connection between what they are reading and their own lives. Encourage them to find books that relate to their interests or experiences. For example, if a student is interested in animals, suggest they read books about different types of animals or about animal habitats.
Provide suggestions for books that align with your students' interests and experiences. Encourage students to make connections between the reading material and their lived experiences by having them write about how the book relates to their experiences or interests. By connecting reading to real-life experiences, we can help students see the relevance of reading and motivate them to continue reading throughout the summer.
5) Incorporate literacy into summer activities.
Encourage families to incorporate literacy into their summer activities. For example, if a family is going on a trip, have students research the destination and create a travel journal. If they go to the beach, have them write a story about a day at the beach or create a list of words they can find in the sand. By incorporating literacy into everyday activities, students will be more engaged and motivated to continue developing their literacy skills.
The key is to keep students engaged and motivated by providing opportunities to explore their interests, set goals, and have fun with reading and writing. Using these tips, teachers can help ensure their students are ready to hit the ground running when they return to school in the fall.
Having trouble knowing exactly where to start?
It can seem daunting trying to slot in learning activities during the summer months. In addition to these tips, we are excited to offer additional free resources in our Summer Backpack, filled with reading, writing, and drawing activities to support your children and students over the summer. Remember not to sweat it—the key is to make learning fun and engaging over the summer. By helping them retain and grow their literacy skills, build independence, and develop a love for learning, you can help them build confidence for back-to-school success.