02 Jul How to Avoid Learning Loss During the Summer
Now that summer is in full swing, parents may wonder what their high school students can (or should) do to avoid learning loss. While it’s important for students to spend time over the summer relaxing and having fun, they may also want to keep their study skills sharp so that they’re ready to hit the ground running when school starts in the fall.
One way for students to keep their brains engaged is to read for pleasure. This doesn’t have to be assigned reading from English class—instead, students should choose a book that interests them. Reading can help improve vocabulary, comprehension, and critical thinking skills. Plus, it’s a great way to relax and unwind after a long day of summer activities. Barnes and Noble offer 100 Best YA & Teen Summer Reading Books, and many local libraries have summer reading programs to encourage student reading. Summer reading programs typically involve setting reading goals and tracking progress, with rewards or prizes given for reaching certain milestones. Some libraries also offer themed reading challenges or book clubs, where students can discuss books they’ve read with their peers.
Another way to stay sharp over the summer is for students to practice their writing skills. They could start a blog, write short stories or poetry, or even keep a journal of their summer adventures. Journaling helps students keep their writing skills fresh, and it’s a great way for them to reflect on their experiences and improve their self-awareness. Students can check out Penzu, an online journaling platform that allows users to create a private journal that can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. It offers features such as customizable themes, reminders, and the ability to attach photos and documents to entries. Five Minute Journal is a great journaling app that provides a simple and structured way for students to focus on gratitude and self-reflection. It includes prompts and exercises designed to encourage positive thinking and self-awareness.
If a student struggles with math or science, it might be a good idea to do some practice problems over the summer. This doesn’t have to be a full-on summer school program—just a few problems each day can help keep them keep skills fresh. Khan Academy is a free online platform that offers a wide range of math courses and exercises, from basic arithmetic to advanced calculus. Khan Academy is great for self-paced learning and allows users to track their progress and earn badges. Another option is IXL, an online program that offers math exercises and quizzes for students from grades K-12. It covers a wide range of math topics and allows students to track their progress and earn rewards.
Students can also use the summer to hone their organizational skills. They can practice time management by making a schedule for what they want to achieve each day, week, and month of the summer. By practicing how to set achievable goals and completing tasks on time over the summer, students will be better able to do this when school resumes. Similarly, students can develop their prioritization skills over the summer. This is a great thing to practice when stakes are low, so that students have this skill in the fall when they have to juggle homework, activities, and, if they are high school seniors, college applications. And students may want to experiment with different organizational and productivity apps to see what works best for them. One favorite is Forest, a productivity app that helps students stay focused by using gamification techniques. Students plant a virtual tree, and it grows as they stay focused on their tasks. If they leave the app, the tree dies.
By doing just a few of these things over the summer, students will be setting themselves up for academic and personal success in the upcoming school year.