5 Ways Summer School Can Address Learning Loss
Over the last few years, much has been said about “learning loss” due to COVID-19. According to a paper published in January 2023 in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, “students lost out on about 35% of a normal school year’s worth of learning.” Research conducted in March 2022 by the NWEA saw test scores drop up to 20% in math and reading during the 2020-21 school year.
Most elementary school students in the United States suffered due to missed classes and classroom structure during the pandemic. To address this issue, many educational institutions have turned to summer school programs as a valuable tool to mitigate learning gaps and help students catch up on missed content.
Here are 5 ways educators can make summer school a valuable and worthwhile experience for students and bridge the “learning loss” gap.
1. Targeted Learning
One attribute of learning loss is that not all students suffer equally compared to their peers and across the education spectrum. Based on a November 2019 EdWeek article, the idea behind Targeted Learning is to customize the learning experience for each student according to his or her unique skills. With a flexible curriculum, educators can identify areas of weakness and design focused lessons and activities to reinforce essential concepts.
Tip: You can address each student’s needs by tailoring instruction to match the individual and effectively bridge the gap in the specific problem areas.
2. Smaller Class Sizes
One of the significant advantages of summer school programs is the smaller class sizes compared to the regular school year. With fewer students, educators can provide more individualized attention to the needs of struggling students. This personalized approach allows educators to address students’ specific challenges and provide targeted instruction, leading to better comprehension and faster progress.
Tip: Many struggling students benefit from extra one-on-one instruction, and summer school programs often provide that. You often will have more flexibility to explore what you can do to help them understand problem-concepts better.
3. Additional Instruction Time
Summer school programs offer extended instructional time, which allows students to engage in more in-depth learning experiences. Students can revisit and re-learn key concepts they missed or didn’t grasp during the regular school year. The additional instruction time helps fill gaps in knowledge and enhances understanding.
Tip: Take advantage of this opportunity by surveying your class and identifying which subjects or concepts the students may have had difficulty understanding during the school year. Use that information to tailor your lessons to address those specific topics.
4. Enrichment Activities
Summer school offers an excellent platform for enrichment activities. These activities can include hands-on experiments, field trips, project-based learning, and creative arts. By incorporating fun and engaging activities, summer school programs foster a positive learning environment and promote a love for learning. This can provide the students with a well-rounded educational experience. It also solidifies lesson concepts and accommodates the needs of many hands-on learners.
Tip: When preparing lessons, look for ways to adapt them with an enrichment experience for your students.
5. Social and Emotional Support
The pandemic affected not only students’ academic progress but also their social and emotional wellness. Summer school programs can address these needs by providing a supportive and nurturing environment.
Educators can help students build resilience and develop positive relationships in less stressful situations than the crowded classrooms of the regular school year. By addressing the holistic needs of students, summer school learning contributes to their overall growth and development.
Tip: Take inventory and identify what wellness concepts you can incorporate into your daily lessons.
According to research done in April 2021 by RAND Corporation, “summer programs, when targeted to needs, intentionally designed, and well-attended, produce positive outcomes for children in math and reading.” When done right, summer school plays a crucial role in bridging the gap between what the student has learned and what he or she needs to learn to be successful.
Studies Weekly tailors the Summer School/ELA program with this in mind. Lessons and instruction are adaptable to be both teacher- or student-guided. The publications have no visible grade bands, so students feel comfortable working at their reading level.
You can feel confident knowing you are reinforcing literacy skills with an extended learning curriculum that provides support for all students who need additional learning time.
Learn more about the Summer School curriculum today.