How to Motivate Students During the Summer 

Whether you are teaching summer school, tutoring, running a summer program, or are a parent looking to keep your student productive this summer, we’ve got you!

Research tells us that when we utilize summertime to re-engage students social-emotionally, there is a better chance to mediate some of the summer learning loss. Overall, consistent summer learning experiences can help close opportunity gaps, lead to higher graduation rates, and increase college readiness in students. But motivating students to participate in any type of summer program can be a struggle, especially when the summer program isn’t 100% recreational. So how can you inspire and encourage your students to dedicate some of their vacation time to further their knowledge while making them feel like they aren’t back in the classroom?

Get hands-on!

“Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I’ll remember. Involve me, I’ll understand.” – Chinese Proverb

Summer is an excellent time for students to get involved in hands-on, project-based learning where they can express their creativity and solidify key concepts they have learned during the school year. Read to Lead provides project-based learning through enrichment projects and activities. Students can work individually or collaboratively to gain teamwork, leadership, life, and career skills while understanding the value of what they are learning in the classroom. 

For students who are visual, auditory, or tactile learners, this can be an opportunity to pursue non-traditional forms of education beyond just textbooks and blackboards. Providing students with avenues to pursue their strengths and interests will inspire them to participate actively in summer programs.

Connect the dots between school and real-life

Schools were created with the intention of preparing students for life. However, as the focus in schools has increasingly shifted to producing good test scores and other arbitrary indicators, more and more students are becoming disillusioned with school – and its relevance to life after graduation. A survey from YouthTruth found that only 54% of middle school and 46% of high school students found what they were learning in school to be relevant to their lives. 

Luckily, technology can help bridge this gap. Educators and parents can take advantage of resources like Read to Lead, a free game-based learning platform that allows students to improve literacy and leadership skills while exploring various career options. By putting students in the role of “the boss” in a virtual workplace scenario, they learn valuable life skills and are able to see the connection between what they learn in school and their future careers. When using Read to Lead, 89% of teachers report that the game helps students connect reading, writing, and verbal communication skills learned in school to real-world careers.

connecting reading to the real-world

Bonus – connect the dots even further and use any one of Read to Lead’s enrichment projects to spark engagement with your students this summer.  Let them discover that what they learned this past year during in-person, hybrid, or remote school applies to any situation happening in the world around them. Allow students to create a public service announcement or develop a service plan to address a problem in the community.  Any one of these enrichment projects make for great summertime activities and will help students connect the dots through real-world applications. 

Challenge students to read for just 15 minutes a day

Literacy is the foundation of all learning, but fostering a love for reading isn’t easy.  In Read to Lead’s engaging learning games, students read 5K words in each game, are introduced to new vocabulary, read closely, and solve complex problems – but they don’t feel like they are reading! When playing Read to Lead, 88% of teachers reported improvements in students’ performance on other reading and writing assessments, as students were able to transfer skills learned through the game to other ELA tasks. Not only that, but 94% of teachers reported that students gained confidence in reading after using Read to Lead! So while students are immersed in game-play, they are developing key foundational skills they could not obtain by reading a traditional summer-reading novel. 

Students gain confidence

Motivating students to participate in summer programs is the first step to ensuring that students have a fruitful summer that contributes to their long-term educational and career success. Ready to empower your students over the summer or in the next school year? 👉🏽 Sign up for a free account and get started!


About Read to Lead

Read to Lead uses the power of game-based learning to empower middle school students to build literacy, life, and career skills. Teachers can sign up for a free account to get started!