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Tips for Keeping Your Child’s Writing Sharp This Summer


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Tips for Keeping Your Child’s Writing Sharp This Summer

Stacy Rosenblum

Here we are again—the happy, hot days of summer.  Each day seems to get longer, yet the weeks fly by, and before we know it, school will be back in session.  So, how to make the most of all this time?  Glad you asked!  We’ve got some tips to embed writing practice into your child’s summer plans, painlessly and with minimal effort.

1. Rediscover the postcard.

Postcards have very limited space in which to write, so by nature, they are a quick and easy writing project.  And who doesn’t love to receive a postcard?  Encourage your kids to collect postcards from your summer travels and adventures, then address and write a few sentences to a relative or friend.  Don’t forget to ask that person to write back!

2. Photo Journals

Creating a photojournal of summer adventures is a fun and engaging way to keep your kids writing this summer.  Give your child a camera (or smartphone) to document any summer event in which they participate.  Then upload the photos to any of a number of web tools to create a photo journal—either online or in print.  I like Google Slides as an easy and cost free option, but if you want to take this project to the print level, there are many sites on which to do so: Blurb, Shutterfly, Mixbook, Snapfish, etc.

3. #TBT: Go to the library!

There is no activity that gets my own kids reading more easily than visiting our local public library.  This suggestion may seem a little “throwback,” but just being in the presence of so many books motivates kids and adults to read.  Your child can explore a personal interest, discover something new, and as the librarian for suggestions.  Furthermore, public libraries are most often air conditioned, which make them a lovely place to spend a sweltering afternoon!

4. Make a list.

The humble act of writing a list is a totally underrated, yet wonderful writing activity.  When my children whine to me that they are bored, the first thing I ask them to do is make a list of all the activities that they could be doing at that moment, as well as all of the things they wish they could do.  Lists are boundless—make a list of absolutely anything you can think of!  Lists are also great starting points for longer pieces of writing, as they help kids to generate ideas on a single topic.  Making lists is great practice for taking notes and organizing ideas in school.

5.  Write a collaborative story.

Get everyone in on the action!  Begin a family story that each member gets to contribute to.  One person gets to write the first few sentences, and set the stage.  Then the next person chimes in, introduces a new character or event, then the next person writes more, changing the story and adding plot twists and turns.  This is a great activity in so many ways.  It uses adult modeling of writing for kids, demands great creativity, and is highly engaging for kids.  We write a collaborative story every summer in my house and this year’s has been going on for about 3 weeks!  There are dragons, aliens, princesses and lots of action.  We leave it on the kitchen counter and whoever gets home from camp or work first gets to add their ideas.  See what comes from your family’s collaborative story and don’t forget to put it away as a great keepsake when the story is complete.

So there you go—5 ways to keep your kids practicing their writing this summer that they will not only be willing to do, but will enjoy!  Have a great summer!