Summer is a time for rest, relaxation, and fun in the sun. Yet it is also a long period of time without consistent academic instruction, and many students show significant skills regression during this time. Some children receive consistent tutoring during the school year, but what happens when summer comes? If your child is in camp all day or is exhausted from long days in the sun, do you continue with tutoring over the summer? For struggling learners, the answer may be obvious, but even those who may not be struggling can benefit from the many advantages of summer tutoring.
Remediate Academic Weaknesses
For students who struggle in school, summer is an ideal time for tutoring – often at a more intensive level. In fact, numerous research studies support the importance of intensive tutoring, especially for struggling learners. A study conducted at the University of Chicago Urban Education lab found that ninth and tenth graders who were struggling with math learned three years worth of skills from intensive tutoring over an eight month time period.
During the summer, students are relieved of the academic constraints of school, which can prevent them from receiving proper remediation of their academic weaknesses. Students with dyslexia, for instance, may need to learn how to sound out words starting at a very basic level and gradually progress upwards as they master each sound, syllable, and word type. Yet with a full plate of homework and tests, it can be hard to fit in proper reading remediation. During the summer, however, students can make significant progress with intensive remediation.
Build Stronger Study Skills
Many students, particularly those with ADHD or executive functioning weaknesses, have poor study skills. They often lose belongings, forget to turn in homework, neglect to bring home the proper books or notes, and are generally disorganized. Summer is a great time for students to receive tutoring in specific tools and strategies to help them develop stronger study and executive functioning skills. For instance, they may benefit from learning a 3-tier organizational system that their tutor can help them set up prior to the school year starting. Tier 1 is a working notebook, or a notebook your child takes to school with him on a regular basis. Tier 2 is an accordion file that he leaves at home, and that contains three sections for each class: tests, homework, and notes/quizzes (the tutor can help your child set up and label this accordion file prior to the school year starting). Tier 3 is a long-term filing drawer or cabinet, designed for projects or essays he may want to keep for the long-run. The key to this system is setting up a “clean out my working notebook” day prior to the start of the school year, where your child plans to clean out all papers he absolutely does not need to be carrying with him on a regular basis and files them into the appropriate section of his working notebook.
Review & Preview Material
Many students feel academically “checked out” by the end of the school year. Yet their teacher may continue teaching new concepts up until the very last day. As a result, your child may miss out on key concepts that she will likely need for the following school year. Thus, summer is an ideal time for your child to work with a tutor on reviewing previously taught material to make sure she fully understands it. Summer is also a great time to preview material to come, whether it’s new math concepts or content-specific subjects. You may even be able to ask your child’s school for the topics that will be taught in the upcoming year, so that you or your child’s tutor can give her a head-start.
Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem
Some children end the school year feeling happy and successful. Yet others feel tired, burnt out, and frustrated with poor performance. Having your child work with a tutor over the summer can help her build stronger academic skills, which can ultimately help her feel better about herself and help her start the school year feeling proud and confident. It’s hard to imagine a better way to begin the school year!
Summer can serve as a nice break from school. Yet all play and no school can have lasting consequences. Many students regress academically over the summer. Don’t let your child’s skills slide as the summer months progress; instead, provide him with the proper tools and instruction to strengthen his academic skills and help him jump-start the new school year on a positive note.