5 Language Activities to Beat the Summer Slide

Check out this post on what causes students to lose language skills during summer break, then read these 5 ideas to increase students’ exposure to the TL and help them retain their skills over the summer.


1. Change the Native Language (NL) Settings to the TL

Tablets, phones, computers, social media websites, and other apps allow the user to switch the language settings. Changing the language settings forces the student to communicate in the TL, and also enables the student to learn new vocabulary.

2. Interact with the TL in Different Mediums

Foreign language teachers should encourage students to remain exposed to the TL by listening to music or podcasts, reading magazines or books, and watching familiar programming with no subtitles. For example, livestation.com allows users to watch live TV from anywhere in the world. You can also create a playlist on Spotify and share it with your students, or encourage them to make their own playlist and share it with you.

3. Practice Communicating in the Foreign Language

If your student is able, encourage them to enroll in a summer language course. Another alternative for those who can’t afford a language camp is to find a local community center or Meetup.com group to practice with other learners. However, if a student simply cannot commute anywhere and has access to internet they can use websites like penpalschools.com to practice communicating with a native speaker.


4. Write in the TL

Encourage your students to keep journals so that they can practice vocabulary and grammar over the summer. Ask your students to write weekly journal entries and then turn their summer highlights into a fun project to present during the fall. One great website where super dedicated students can go is lang-8.com, where students can write entries in the TL and then a native speaker corrects grammar and spelling.


5. Be Creative and Have Fun

Keep in mind that assigning drill worksheets and “busywork” almost never has the desired effect. If you give students the flexibility to do fun activities, they are more likely to engage in TL learning over the summer. Giving students options to create posters, music videos, presentations, or discuss a topic of interest can make a big difference.Tell them about websites or apps like ClassTracks where they can practice vocabulary in a game-like web app.