The District

Prepping for summer learning? Three ways to make it impactful.

The Newsela Team
May 16, 2022

There’s a lot riding on summer learning programs this year. 

We know summer programs are logistically challenging. With the increase in teacher shortages, class staffing by novices, substitutes and uncertified teachers, and the race to spend ESSER funds effectively on summer enrichment, we want to help manage some of the unknowns. 

Unfortunately, we can’t come and teach summer classes for you, but we can provide proven methods from our experts on how to make sure your investments in summer learning are worthwhile and that the teachers who are in classrooms this summer, have the instructional supports they need. You can check “finding high-quality, engaging, and relevant content” off your teachers’ to-do-lists this summer.  

Ready-to-go standards-aligned curations that Newsela provides will save teachers time, are flexible to students' needs, and require minimal preparation regardless of experience level. With these resources, your school can get prepped for summer learning all while taking a little stress off teachers' plates.

Check out these 3 additional ways to make learning impactful this summer:

Set realistic goals and reassess often 

Summer learning can be stressful but with flexible resources, you can set goals that are realistic and  help teachers gauge whether students understood what they just read through low-stakes formative assessments.

To gain insight on student understanding in real time, encourage educators to weave in various low-stakes formative assessments. Low-stakes formative assessments can create meaningful checkpoints for students to demonstrate their knowledge while remaining engaged in a lesson(s) without the stress of a higher stakes test. 

Newsela offers a variety of low-stakes formative assessments, such as Writing Prompts, annotations and reading comprehension quizzes, that engage student progress. Plus, research shows that when students take Newsela quizzes, they’re getting exposure to the types of questions being asked on high-stakes reading assessments.

Prioritize self-directed learning

Holding students’ attention is more important than ever, and with summer schedules, engaging students can be a challenge. Encouraging students to discover new information as they carve out their learning path through self-directed-learning can help build motivation and engagement. With guided support from the teacher, students can be more proactive in their learning when they have agency, shifting from teacher-led instruction to student-led exploration. 

Newsela can help keep your lessons fresh and relevant with new texts added daily and opportunities for student-led learning. Newsela’s Debate and Discussion collection, included with Newsela ELA, includes text sets that students can use to form an opinion and build their case. Or if students want to explore their own interests, they can dive in ​​Newsela ELA’s Research Projects collection.

Regardless of what content you choose, building in flexibility to your instructional planning elevates student engagement, creating space to build meaningful lessons and meet students where they are. 

Introduce instructional materials that include whole-child supports

Students deserve content that recognizes and embeds whole child-supports into learning so they are in the right mindset to learn and be academically successful. We know you’re aware of the disruptions students faced in the past few years that pushed SEL more to the forefront. So how do we continue to ensure the whole child learning is a priority this summer?

The Newsela SEL collection empowers teachers to integrate SEL into their core literacy instruction and is organized by 5 Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) competencies.  As students build literacy skills, they can also build SEL skills with units designed specifically around areas such as self-awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making.

Students may feel discouraged knowing they're in class while their peers are on summer vacation. We want students to see the relevancy in lessons and reassure them that their emotions and experiences matter. Equip your teachers with resources that consider whole-child needs and empower your teachers to remain flexible.

With Newsela for summer learning you can engage and challenge students with accessible, relevant content as the basis for skills practice. And it’s proven to work – studies from last summer show that consistent usage of Newsela can drive positive outcomes in as little as 3 weeks.

Ready to see how Newsela can support you this summer? Explore the resources here.  

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