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Summer School Activities to Motivate Students

written by: Margo Dill • edited by: Trent Lorcher • updated: 5/29/2014

Many summer school programs in elementary schools are for enrichment and for extra practice. Some students look forward to extending the school year, but in general, students are ready for school to be over. It is important to plan fun summer school activities and provide motivation for kids.

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    Punch Cards for Attendance and Good Behavior

    Motivating Summer School Students Earning points or punches to "buy" rewards at the end of the summer school program can be very motivating. Many programs offer this type of reward system as a part of their summer school activities. Here's how it works:

    1. Determine how many possible points students could receive if they have perfect attendance and perfect participation/behavior after each summer school subject.
    2. Each student who attends the summer school program receives a punch card. Alternatively, you can also use a point chart or point card.
    3. Each day the student attends summer school he earns a punch or a point on his card.
    4. After each session, such as summer school reading or summer school science, the student receives a punch or point for good behavior and/or participation.
    5. Create rewards students can "purchase" with their points or punches. These can be donations from parents or restaurants. For example, many pizza places will donate coupons for free personal pizzas for educational purposes.
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    Summer School Reading Motivators

    Reading Outside Can Motivate Students A primary reason that many parents and teachers want students to participate in summer school activities is to either gain a reading level or help them maintain their current reading level. Reading is an important part of every subject, so it is imperative to provide summer school reading practice. Again, use motivators to get students to read as much as possible.

    Ask students for input on their ideal summer school reading program. Offer some ideas, such as a special field trip the last week of summer school, buddy reading time, earning an ice cream or pizza party after reading a specific number of hours or books, reading to students in a younger grade or to nursing home residents or reading outside at a park or on the playground.

    Once you and your summer school students decide on the "reading reward," then you will need to set how many books, pages or hours your students will need to read to reach this goal. Make the goal realistic but challenging.

    Decide whether students should read at home to meet the goal (this is recommended) or if they can only read during summer school hours. If you choose the former, you may want to create a log for parents to sign, confirming the time or pages recorded.

    Create a summer school reading bulletin board so you can track how much each of your students has read and how close the class is to their goal.

    Fun is a motivation for kids, so make reaching your summer school reading goal exciting and enjoyable!