With the summer coming to a close, many educators are returning to the classroom. Although every district is different, what tends to be the same is students need to reconnect with classroom routines: getting back to the flow of regular learning and test taking.
Here are some of the most helpful tips from the field on how to transition students back from their summer break.
Be Aware of the Summer Slide
Many students are affected by the transition from a consistent school day to an irregular summer schedule. An absence of deadlines, assignments, and thoughtful group discussion causes students to “lose” critical thinking skills and forget what they learned during the school year.
This phenomenon is referred to by experts as the “Summer Slide.” Educators report needing to take anywhere from three to six weeks at the start of each school year to reintroduce topics to their students. In later grades, students have added pressures like placement testing that makes the summer slide even more detrimental to their success.
One of the ways experts suggest educators combat the summer slide is by encouraging summer reading. Creating fun incentives for students who report reading can make all the difference: studies have found that “students who read or are engaged in another form of learning just two to three hours per week during the summer prevented summer slide.”
While reading can prevent summer slide, it doesn’t combat the loss of some skills, like problem-solving or observational thinking, which are fostered by math and science courses. Group tutoring or educational camps can also help prevent summer slide, while also preparing students to return to school.
Refocus Lessons to Teach Successful Test-Taking Skills
Due to the summer slide, educators are left having to teach new material and simultaneously review content from the previous year. This results in less time to cover new material at the end of the year, hurting test scores and district funding.
Students may feel more prepared for these tests if they learn test-taking strategies in the classroom. For example, lessons should incorporate time awareness, identifying key information, and evaluating answer choices. These strategies can make students more comfortable taking tests and build up their academic confidence.
Educators may not have time to practice testing every week, but small group tutoring can help reinforce these lessons outside of the classroom. These tutoring sessions strengthen students’ cognitive thinking skills and make them feel better about learning in the classroom. In addition, when tutors are trained in standardized test-prep this can move the needle even further for the students that they work with.
Consider Small Group Tutoring
Although now may be too late to encourage summer reading and summer tutoring, educators can still be ready for the back to school season with some help from tutoring partners this fall.
A district tutoring partnership is a key way to support students in or outside of the classroom. Small group tutoring can provide focused help and much needed content recovery, while also helping prepare students for high-pressure standardized testing.
Finding a tutoring partner can be daunting which is why companies like Intervene K-12 specialize in data-driven tutoring and district support.
Intervene K-12 works directly with school districts to align with their curriculum and testing goals. In addition, the company uses data-driven methods to offer better instruction and analysis. You can learn more here.