Summer Information Retention Tips for Teachers and Students

Starting a new school year is daunting in every aspect. As students return to in-person learning after a long summer we must take summer learning loss into account. Student academic achievement levels especially in disadvantaged groups may be lower than where they were at the beginning of summer. On average, students lose around one month’s worth of school learning over the summer.  Usually, summer school and enrichment programs are active to combat academic losses; however, not as many students are enrolled with the online format. Teachers, parents, and students can prevent learning loss over the summer by staying active mentally and physically. Combatting the normal levels of summer learning loss in addition to the stressors of an online year will be a challenge during the school year, so here are some tips on how to stop learning loss during the summer.

  • Read

Declines in reading levels are often attributed to lower income students; however, this does not discount the need for all students to read over the summer. Ensure your students are equipped with the right tools to stay steady readers. Start a summer reading challenge and set a goal of 30 minutes per day or 2 books per week. This will provide mental stimulation, vocabulary expansion, improve memory, and foster stronger critical thinking skills. Keep physical books on hand or try sending books as a PDF and use Foxit PDF Reader to hold multiple books on the go. Learn more about PDFs in education here. Parents are encouraged to keep their student on track by reading with them or to them. Tying in your local public library is also a great way to engage with your community and keep summer learning loss at bay.

  • Review

Whether you’re reviewing your lesson plans for the next year or ensuring your students are reviewing their school notes, practice is an essential part of information retention over the summer. Students and teachers don’t have a set schedule over the break, so it is important to make time for reviewing old material. For students this can include reading over notes, completing practice problems, fixing mistakes on past exams, or going through vocabulary. Reviewing also includes adding new study practices and ditching the methods that don’t work. Teachers can also review their own notes and learn more throughout the summer in order to be at their best when school returns. Check out our Blog post about how teachers can prepare for the new school year here.

  • Take Additional Classes

Free online courses can help you and your students stay active learners over the summer. OpenCourseWare programs at many universities provide free online college courses on a variety of topics. Allowing students to choose their own topics will maintain their curiosity of learning and help students stay motivated in the future. Closing the academic gaps over the summer will reduce schoolyear stress and help students learn their own individual study methods while preparing for a new semester. Teachers can also take professional development courses over the summer to stay up to date with the latest teaching tips and ideas.

Summer can take a toll on student learning, but it does not need to with these tips. Learning loss can range from academic knowledge to technical classroom skills especially in historically disadvantaged groups. Staying aware of student success even over holidays and breaks will ensure students are prepared for learning. Keeping up with digitalization over the summer will also help students grow as learners. Ensure your classes are up to date by preparing your lessons and classroom for digitalization with PDF technology here.

There’s no foolproof way to prevent learning loss but encouraging your students to continue learning throughout the summer will make a big difference!

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