The Importance of Summer Learning

Summer learning programs can help students improve their academic outcomes. Studies show that vacation from school results in lost knowledge and skills, especially in math and reading (on average, students lose about 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills during the summer) (Cooper, 1996). This loss, compounded over time, contributes to the achievement gap between students who require more time to process information and their peers. Longitudinal studies indicate that the effects of summer learning programs endure for at least two years after participation and that students who attend summer learning programs have better outcomes than their peers.

Students who undertake summer learning can:

  • Master material that they did not learn during the previous school year, reverse summer learning loss, and even achieve learning gains
  • Benefit from individualized instruction or coaching
  • Boost/increase their confidence for the next year
  • Establish good work habits
  • Close the achievement gap
  • Develop essential skills and helpful learning strategies
  • Prepare for the next year’s transitions and curriculum
  • Set academic goals for the next year
  • Catch up and learn at their own pace
WISE READING®  Remediation for English Students, Grades 1–12

This program is designed to assist primary students who are challenged by the acquisition of reading skills or older students with continued reading difficulties.

Students will benefit from the WISE READING® REMEDIATION Program, which helps them increase their decoding skills and phonological awareness. Lack of phonemic awareness is the most powerful determinant of the likelihood of failure to read (Adams, 1990).

Students with reading difficulty often have lower levels of phonological awareness and phonemic awareness than their classmates. When students express frustration or difficulty with reading, or avoid the task, it is often a sign of a deficit in lower-level reading skills.

As many as 31 percent of students who enter kindergarten with ADHD will have difficulty learning to read. Many students with learning disabilities have deficiencies in their ability to process phonological information. Thus, they do not readily learn how to relate letters of the alphabet to the sounds of language (Lyon, 1995). Some 80–90 percent of students with learning disabilities are reported to exhibit significant difficulty with reading (Kavale and Reese, 1992; Lerner, 1989; Lyon et al., 2001). High school students with diagnosed learning disabilities have lower literacy levels than students without disabilities (National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2010). A significant number of college students with learning disabilities demonstrate reading underachievement as a result of their disabilities, influencing both their school and work outcomes (Bruck, 1992; Gregg, 2009; Gregg et al., 2002; Shaywitz et al., 2003).

Students from culturally diverse backgrounds may have particular difficulties with phonological awareness. Exposure to language at home, exposure to reading at an early age, and dialect all affect the ability of student to understand the phonological distinctions on which the English language is built.

Neurocognitive research shows that the plasticity (change) of the brain in response to interventions for struggling readers extends into young adulthood. Phonological awareness instruction and intervention can improve the phonological awareness and word decoding skills of older students.

Initial problems in reading usually do not disappear without intensive intervention and individualized tutoring, without which the deficit will remain. The WISE READING®  Remediation Program, based on the doctoral research approach of Nancy Wise, delivers phonological and phonemic awareness for struggling readers.

Students work with trained WISE READING®  Remediation instructors in a 60-minute, one-to-one format. The program is delivered over six consecutive weeks. To ensure adherence to the science of the program, students meet with their instructor three times per week. Prior to the commencement of the program, and at the end of the 18 hours, students will undergo a pre-reading assessment aimed at identifying gaps in their pre-reading skills and providing the instructor, student, and family with a record of student improvement.

WISE READING®  Remediation for French Immersion Students, Grades 1–8

Students in French immersion, dual-track, and English programs who are challenged by the acquisition of early reading skills will benefit from the WISE READING®  Remediation Program, which helps students increase their decoding skills and phonological awareness. Lack of phonemic awareness is the most powerful determinant of the likelihood of failure to read (Adams, 1990). Early-reading acquisition research proves that phonological awareness is critical for teaching students in kindergarten through Grade 2 how to read successfully (Wise & Chen 2009, 2010, and 2015).

Initial problems in reading usually do not disappear without intensive intervention and individualized tutoring. Early monitoring and support for these students is critical if they are to progress with their age peers.

The WISE READING®  Remediation Program, based on the doctoral research of Nancy Wise, delivers phonological and phonemic awareness for struggling French immersion readers. The 18 hours of multisensory instruction are delivered in English, to ensure reading intervention at the earliest possible opportunity, as soon as at-risk readers are identified and while they are developing proficiency in French.

Students work with trained Evoke instructors in a 60-minute, one-to-one format. The program is delivered over six consecutive weeks. To ensure adherence to the science of the program, students meet with their instructor three times per week. Prior to the commencement of the program, and at the end of the 18 hours, students will undergo a pre-reading assessment aimed at identifying gaps in their pre-reading skills and providing the instructor, student, and family with a record of student improvement.

Dr. Wise has successfully tested the program with French immersion learners since 2008. These immersion studies clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of the remediation program to facilitate reading acquisition in both French and English, and reading gains have also been shown to last well beyond the completion of the program.

Reading Connections, Grades 1–12

The Reading Connections program is the next step for students who have completed the WISE READING®  Remediation Program, or for students who have already developed basic phonological awareness skills. For these students, Reading Connections is the next step towards reading fluency and, eventually, comprehension. Students cannot obtain comprehension without reading fluency. The goal of the program is to develop the student’s word-level reading by helping them master advanced phonemic awareness and orthographic mapping skills that boost reading fluency.

The ability to recognize text, at a reasonable rate, and with appropriate expression and phrasing, is key to understanding what has been read and to enjoying the process of reading. When early readers do not have to pause to decode a word, they can focus on the meaning and idea it represents. Motivation and engagement are critical factors in learning to read, so our tutors incorporate fun activities, evidence-based strategies, and age-appropriate games into their one-to-one instruction. This program is offered for one hour, two to three times a week.

In between sessions, to reinforce learning and to ensure that skills are being practiced, students are asked to engage in homework on non-Evoke days, for five minutes per day.

Reading Comprehension Strategies, Grades 4–12

Delivered in five, 90-minute sessions, this program is for students who struggle with reading comprehension or who would like to deepen their understanding of what they read. Strategy instruction improves reading comprehension, and studies have shown that teaching reading strategies to students with learning disabilities improves comprehension (Gersten, Fuchs, Williams and Baker, 2001; Mastropieri, Scruggs and Graetz, 2003; Swanson, 1999). Supports for students with learning disabilities enhance comprehension for every learner. Studies have also shown that when students were taught strategies to identify the main ideas of a text (Graves et Levin, 1989), recognize the structure of a text (Bakken, Mastropieri and Scruggs, 1997), and summarize a text (Berkeley, Mastropieri and Scruggs, 2011), their performance improved. Students will receive strategy handouts and will learn the science of reading.

Specific evidence-based strategies are taught to students that can be applied in any reading situation and to any reading genre to help readers make sense of text. Strategies and technology use are incorporated into the sessions for students who require the use of assistive technology to read.

Academic Writing Strategies, Grades 4–12

Evidence-based research shows that struggling writers can improve their skills dramatically if they receive the detailed, explicit instruction they need. (Graham & Harris, 2005.) Such strategies can improve the writing skills of students with learning disabilities and are equally effective for individuals who just need extra help.

Academic Writing Strategies teaches students strategies that assist with every phase of the writing process, from brainstorming and goal setting to proofreading and revision – strategies that have been researched and proven to work with students at all levels, and especially those who are challenged by learning disabilities. Together, the student and tutor will identify the greatest roadblocks to the student’s writing, and choose two to four writing strategies that will best address their challenges. Our strategies are evidence-based, and introduced gradually as the student demonstrates understanding.

Students work with a writing tutor in a 60-minute, one-to-one format over the course of a minimum of eight hours. The student will be required to engage in 20–30 minutes of strategy practice at home three times per week in order to reinforce the learning.

Summer Learning Support

During the summer months, Evoke supports students who are enrolled in summer school, taking online courses/credits, working to master material that they did not learn during the previous school year, or catching up where they have fallen behind. Through individualized mentoring, coaching, and tutoring, we help students who are managing self-regulation challenges, struggle with executive functions, need to learn study skills, or would like help to progress through academic content. Students establish strong work habits, develop essential skills and learning strategies, and become more confident in moving to the next grade level. Math, reading, and writing remediation can help every student prepare for the next year’s transitions and curriculum, and achieve their academic goals.

Students can meet with an Evoke tutor and/or mentor anytime from once a week up to multiple times per week.

Math Tune-Up, Grades 5–12

Students struggle in math and have gaps in their learning for a variety of reasons: lack of self-efficacy, challenges with focus and staying on task, mindset, problems processing information at the same rate as their peers, and inadequate practice to master concepts and skills. To succeed in math in higher grades, it is critical that students master lower-level math skills. At Evoke, our math programs give students the extra time to learn these important skills and concepts and address their learning deficits, bridging the gap for students who are behind in math and ensure that the learning gap doesn’t widen.

Our Math Tune-Up program focuses on identifying and remediating academic gaps in math, promoting the development of mathematical reasoning, fostering understanding with less memorization, and helping students develop efficient strategies for solving problems.

Available in 10 to 18 one-hour sessions, remediation for this program includes reviewing the student’s completed grade level, identifying gaps in learning, and ensuring that the student has a solid understanding of the current material before moving on to the next grade. The program begins with a diagnostic assessment. This assessment allows us to pinpoint the specific concepts and curriculum expectations with which the student is struggling. This information also helps to guide our tutors so that they may effectively and efficiently bring the student up to grade level. Math is like a hierarchy, and having a solid understanding of current grade concepts will assist the student in navigating the curriculum in the next grade. The tutor will focus on re-teaching skills and concepts that the student will need to transition successfully into that grade.

Academic Foundations

Evoke’s Academic Foundations (six, 90-minute sessions) introduces students (Grade 7 through postsecondary) to key foundational concepts necessary for academic performance. Informed by current cognitive science, the program focuses on both academic skills and noncognitive factors such as procrastination, the science of success, and the nature of ADHD. Students are introduced to information, resources, strategies, and tools that will help them navigate the academic curriculum and enhance their learning, and organizational and study skills.

Students engage in conversation about the science of learning, the basics of human cognitive processes, and strategies for effective learning. This information is particularly helpful for those students with executive functioning challenges.

Sessions may include conversations on:

  • Mindset
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Goal setting
  • Motivation
  • Academic procrastination
  • Executive functions
  • Study skills
  • Reading, writing and note-taking skills
  • Time management
  • Misunderstandings about learning

Students with self-regulation challenges may find it helpful to follow this program with Evoke mentoring support during the school year to allow the student to apply what they have learned and move theory into practice.

Coaching for Students Who Procrastinate

Researchers estimate that in North America, more than 70 percent of students procrastinate in school. Many suffer from poor academic performance, decreased well-being, negative emotions, and reduced life achievements. Coaching and counselling have been identified as successful interventions in decreasing student academic procrastination.

Our coaching program provides six, 90-hour sessions of coaching conversation with a professional academic coach. Coaches discuss the myths and brain science behind procrastination, explain how to self-advocate, work with the student to set realistic and concrete goals, increase student motivation and hope, encourage self-reflection and self-control, review how to manage setbacks, and recommend customized strategies. Students with self-regulation challenges may find it helpful to follow this program with Evoke mentoring support, during the school year, to help the student move into action.

Transitioning to Postsecondary Education

In the move to college or university, students often lose the essential supports they received in high school. As a result, many struggle, both academically and emotionally.

We offer personalized coaching focused on the development of metacognitive skills. Our coaches identify effective strategies and solutions that help students bridge the gap between ability and performance. Coaching focuses on increasing the individual’s ability to plan, prioritize, and organize efficiently and effectively, and emphasizes a proactive approach to learning. Our holistic program supports students in their transition by helping them to:

  • Create a vision for the kind of experience they want to have
  • Determine what they want from college or university
  • Define their goals
  • Create and implement action steps to help achieve their goals
  • Ensure they have the resources they need to make a successful transition

Through coaching, students learn to develop key academic strategies such as planning, time management, self-advocacy skills, stress management, and organization. Sessions can also be used to address test and exam strategies, assistive technology, accommodations, note-taking, and study and memory strategies.

Coaching can begin in the summer months leading up to the transition. The program is provided in six, 90-minute sessions.

Coaching, Learning Strategies, and Executive Function Skill Development

Our coaching and mentoring programs:

  • Support clients to help them define and achieve their learning objectives
  • Support students through transitions
  • Help students achieve their academic goals
  • Close the gap between ability and achievement
  • Provide students with the balance of support and challenge they need in order to learn
  • Pave the way for learning to occur
  • Improve the overall learning experience for the student
  • Focus on the development of a set of skills that will serve an individual throughout their academic career
  • Postsecondary Planning Program
  • Coaching for Students Who Procrastinate
  • Academic Foundations
  • Transitioning to Postsecondary Education