Sink or Swim: Keep Learning Afloat for High School Students This Summer

Library Resources | May 26, 2016

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How parents and educators can avoid the "summer slide" and keep children learning all year long.

Memorial Day: the unofficial start of summer is also when final exams are over for many high schools across the United States, and summer vacation begins. Now comes the real challenge for educators and parents — stemming the learning loss that occurs during the summer months.

Often called the “summer slide,” it refers to the tendency for students to lose the academic gains they made during the school year. Research (1) shows that students can fall behind in math and reading skills and that scores on standardized tests taken at the end of the summer are lower than scores on the same test taken at the beginning of the summer. Here are some thoughts on how to engage teens in summer learning.

Create Rewarding Learning Opportunities

Summer is a great time to learn in a more relaxed environment, without the pressure of ongoing class assignments. Students can use the summer to build skills at their own pace or focus on interests that they don’t have time to fully explore during the school year. Examples of good summer learning opportunities include those that enable students to:

  • Improve key math skills
  • Become better writers and readers
  • Learn how to use or improve upon skills with computer software applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint
  • Get a jump on preparing for college admissions tests such as the SAT®, ACT® and AP® exams
  • Research colleges
  • Explore potential careers and even search for summer internships

Accommodate Teens’ Needs and Summer Schedules

Students are more likely to embrace summer learning if they control how and when it occurs. Online resources that provide self-directed study fit well with teens’ summer lifestyles, giving them the flexibility to work around summer jobs and social commitments, and enabling them to learn anytime, anywhere, and on any mobile device.

Engage Students with Interactive Resources

Interactive resources with built-in feedback on progress are essential for successful summer study. It promotes active learning, enables students to build skills on their own, and gives them information about which topics they know well and which they need to work on.

Find Online Programs Geared to High School Students

When evaluating learning tools, educators and parents should look for an easy-to-use online platform that features a variety of resources to facilitate student engagement. There should be a selection of different resource types such as interactive tutorials, practice tests, flashcards and e-books. Students need to receive personalized score reports that identify their strengths and weaknesses, as well as recommended resources for further study.

PrepSTEP™ High School Edition Can Help

LearningExpress has a dynamic online learning platform, PrepSTEP™ High School Edition, that can help keep learning afloat in the summer. It provides high schools with valuable resources for self-directed student learning. All of these resources are designed into PrepSTEP for independent study which makes it a valuable asset for summer learning. Get more information about PrepSTEP.

Whether your student uses Prep STEP, attends summer school, or enlists other methods of learning during the summer, he or she can swim their way to a strong fall and minimize learning loss that occurs during the summer.

1 National Summer Learning Association. Know the Facts. http://www.summerlearning.org/?page=know_the_facts

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