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Summer Enrichment Offerings for Middle Schoolers

Updated: Feb 5

Whether you are worried about academic content that wasn’t adequately taught due to the sudden shift to remote instruction, eager to make sure your child is ready to hit the ground running in the fall, or looking to augment a fundamental academic skill, summer offers a great opportunity to do so. In my experience, the best way to bolster skills and to get student buy-in for summer work is to ground that important skill-building work in something of genuine interest to the student. The fundamental skills needed for academic success—efficient close reading, powerful analytical thinking, and clear writing—can be learned in almost any context, from reading a literary classic to indulging an obsessive interest in D-Day to exploring the mythic origins of the Harry Potter series.

With that in mind, what follows is a list of sample enrichment projects our tutoring team is excited to offer. The goal, of course, is to focus on something about which each student is excited. We would be eager to help shape a plan that will be thoroughly engaging for any individual or small group looking to do some fun learning together this summer. Please feel free to call or text me directly to discuss.



M: 216.235.3115

Fun Learning Together This Summer

Tackle a Great Book.

Whether it’s assigned “summer reading” or a literary classic that has piqued a student’s interest, tackling a challenging book with a more knowledgeable fellow traveler can make for a deeper, more meaningful reading experience. Austen, Dickens, Homer, Morrison, Shakespeare—the sky’s the limit.

Skills in focus: close reading, textual analysis, building rich vocabulary, critical writing.

Explore the Mythic Roots of Harry Potter.

Did you know that J.K. Rowling majored in Classics at the University of Exeter. This is no coincidence. Her story of a young orphan, terribly mistreated by his aunt and uncle, plagued by the unshakeable feeling that he simply doesn’t belong, makes use of many of the same narrative elements as its Ancient Greek and Mesopotamian forerunners. By tracing the connections between the Harry Potter series and its mythic antecedents—led by a dynamic young tutor who has read the series in three different languages—students will be gifted with an enriched reading of both the series and the myths.

Skills in focus: close reading, textual analysis, intellectual curiosity, critical writing.

Take a Deep Dive into a Historical Moment or a Current Issue.

Is there a topic that has captured your child’s attention of late, either from history or from current events? It could be as broad as “World War II” or as narrow as “the D-Day invasion,” as broad as “the history of immigration to the US” or as narrow as “‘Build the Wall’: Recent Efforts to Close America’s Borders.” In this option, student(s) and tutor would work together to refine the focus and to develop a set of questions around a topic of interest, then examine a bunch of resources to learn as much as possible about the topic. Resources could include, but need not be limited to, articles, books, documentaries, video clips of interviews, personal interviews conducted by the student, online “visits” to historical places or to museums, etc.

Skills in focus: content-area reading, research-based writing, historical analysis, media literacy.

A Deep Dive into a Science Topic.

Similar in nature to the history project described above but focused on a science topic. In this project, mentored by one of the amazing biomedical engineers who make up the core of The Whole Kid’s math/science tutoring team, students would work to develop a set of questions around a topic of interest, then examine a variety of resources to learn as much as possible about the topic.

Skills in focus: content-area reading, scientific inquiry, scientific/technical writing.

Math Enrichment: A problem-solving approach.

A challenge-problem based approach to improving logic and complex problem-solving skills. While the focus of this proposal is on using math and logic skills in engaging ways outside of the traditional scope and sequence of an academic math curriculum, our work with students is always grounded in the math that has recently been studied in school and conducted with an eye to what’s coming up next year. Moreover, for those students who would find it intriguing to get a peek at what’s ahead, we could certainly include a handful of ACT/SAT type math problems from time to time.

Skills in focus: algebra and geometry fundamentals, logic, problem-solving, standardized test readiness.

Isn’t that poetic?

Whether a student’s early interactions with poetry have left behind a sour aftertaste or a craving for more, a summertime exploration of the rich and wonderful world of poetry would provide opportunities not only to be inspired by the ideas and the language of the great poets, but also to hone important close reading skills.

Skills in focus: close reading, textual analysis, building rich vocabulary, critical writing.

And many more!

In addition to the ideas outlined above, our tutors are working with students this summer in Creative Writing, French & Spanish, ISEE Prep, Making a Successful Transition to High School, and more. If you’re wondered about it—or worried about it—chances are, we’ve helped someone with it. Let’s discuss!


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