Summer Activities For English Language Learners
The end of the school year is an exciting and overwhelming time for teachers and students. As students prepare for their time off, it’s critical for teachers to set them up for success so their minds can stay engaged during their break.
It can be difficult for students to stay focused and motivated in the last weeks of school. However, reminding ELL students of their progress is a great way to give them confidence in their reading and writing skills.
As you wrap up the school year, have your students write a letter to themselves. In the letter, encourage students to reflect on their progress over the past year. They can include a favorite memory or advice for their future selves as they head back to school in the fall. Teachers can save the letters and distribute them to students when they return after the break.
This ELL activity benefits students in many ways. Giving students a chance to read their own words and experiences will help ease back-to-school nerves and give them a boost of confidence as they start a new school year.
How to Involve ESL Parents
Learning how to involve ESL parents is essential because they can encourage their children to practice their skills when they’re not in school. Teachers can help prepare parents and guardians for summer by providing them with pre-approved activities for English language learners and resources to aid them in the process.
Some ESL parents may need extra resources or translation services to help stay connected, such as:
Parents are important partners in your student’s academic success. By providing them with the right support, you can empower your ELL parents to have an active role in their child’s education— regardless of language barriers.
Keep in Contact Over the Summer with a Newsletter
Creating a newsletter is another great idea for how to involve ESL parents over the summer. The newsletter can feature a number of things such as book recommendations and summer activities for students.
In addition, it can include tips and resources for parents on how to keep their children learning when out of the classroom.
Teachers can create a newsletter for each month of the summer and send all three home with their students at the end of the year. Each year, teachers can reuse their newsletters after making some changes to keep the information up to date.
The newsletter is a great way to share helpful information and tools so parents. Teachers can find an assortment of free newsletter templates online that are easy to create and customize based on their needs.
Give Parents a List of Free Activities
Sometimes using hands-on activities for English language learners is the best way to get students excited about learning. It’s important for students to realize that learning doesn’t stop when the bell rings.
Before the school year ends, teachers can compile a list of free summer activities and programs where children can continue to learn. These activities don’t need to be elaborate or expensive. There are many types of educational resources available for free.
Depending on your community, you can share places such as libraries and museums that offer free workshops, memberships, or day passes. Taking students to public areas is a great way to encourage interactive learning, plus after the trips, they can write about their experiences and what they learned.
Summer Activities for English Language Learners
There are many great activities for English language learners that you can provide for your students to keep their brains active over the summer and continue to use some of the skills they learned the previous school year. Below, we’ve shared some of our favorite summer activities for ELLs.
Make a Journal
One of the best ways to get students excited about learning is to give them a creative outlet. As the school year comes to an end, have the students in your class create a personal journal. They can decorate it and personalize it so that it feels special to them.
In the last weeks of school, provide your students with a variety of writing prompts and activities. These can be focused on what they’ve learned in the past year, goals they’ve achieved, and favorite experiences or memories.
You can encourage students to continue writing in their journals through summer break by providing them with summer-related prompts, vocabulary words, and visuals to use in their writing over the break.
Writing can be overwhelming for many ELL students, so be sure to provide some sentence frames and sentence starters in addition to open-ended writing prompts.
Consider providing your students with a mini word wall to include in their journals. You can use this as a tool to reinforce vocabulary words that you taught throughout the school year.
You can also encourage students to write in their native language- strong native language skills are an asset for second language acquisition.
It’s inevitable— students will be spending more time on their screens when school is out. Maximize their screen time by providing them with some apps and websites that have academic value.
Since many ELLs do not have an English speaker at home, they can benefit tremendously from the corrective feedback that educational games provide. There are many online resources and websites that ELL students can use to keep their minds sharp over the summer.
- Starfall.com: This site focuses on reading strategies such as letter recognition. Students can work from the ground up to eventually read a number of materials from non-fiction stories, to plays, and even comic books.
- English First High Flyers: This easy-to-use game gives students the opportunity to learn new vocabulary words. The app offers audio and visual support as it tests students through spelling, vocabulary listening, and reading quizzes.
- Futaba: Designed for 1-4 players, this game helps students learn the names of everyday items by showing them pictures. Students can play together or alone as they’re tested on new vocabulary words that will come in handy throughout their daily routines.
- The Kidz Page: With over 5,000 pages of educational games and activities, this site allows students to get creative while learning. From online coloring pages to word games, students can practice their skills while also having fun.
Create a Summer Reading List
Summer reading lists are popular among teachers of every grade level. Compiling approved reading materials is beneficial to students and parents because it offers guidance on what resources and books are available and worthwhile.
You can distribute a summer reading list to ELL students and their parents before the school year ends. As you choose summer reading books for ELLs, it’s crucial to provide a wide range of materials.
Understanding students’ interests and experiences will help you choose books that will keep ELLs engaged, and also help grow their reading and writing development. The lists can include materials for different reading levels, as well as a variety of genres and resources.
A good way to encourage reading over the summer is to set student goals. Parents and guardians can keep track of the reading list as well, signing off on each book. This way they can record the student’s progress and encourage them to continue reading.
Listen to Educational Podcasts or Audiobooks
Many ELL students aren’t hearing English at home. Podcasts and audiobooks are two great ways for them to keep up with their listening skills. Before the year is over, you can provide students with a list of pre-approved podcasts and entertaining audiobooks. Some of these could include apps like
Students can read along as they listen to the books, helping them hone their pronunciation and reading skills. After finishing a book or podcast, students can also write down what they thought was interesting or what they enjoyed most about each piece.
Motivating Students Over the Summer
By the end of the school year, everyone is ready for a break. To keep students from “checking out” all summer long, consider offering some incentives for completing the activities you’ve provided. Helping students set goals, and rewarding them when those goals are met, is a great way to build a student’s confidence.
Use a Bingo Sheet or Checklist
Create a bingo consisting of an assortment of summer activities for English language learners. Once a student completes a task, they can mark it on their bingo sheet. Some of the tasks can include:
- Finishing a summer reading book.
- Writing an entry in their summer journal.
- Playing an educational game with a friend.
- Spending time outdoors or taking part in an educational activity.
Once students return to school after their summer break, they can hand in their bingo sheets. Depending on what tasks they have completed, you can reward students with free or inexpensive prizes. These prizes can range from a piece of their favorite candy to sitting with a friend during class.
Even a small incentive can be enough to increase student motivation over the summer.
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