**This post has been sponsored by Trinity Christian Academy to bring you this experience.**
With summer quickly approaching, our minds are turning towards vacations, camps, ice cream, and lazy days. While a slower schedule is important, research warns not to send reading, writing, and math on a vacation, as well. If our children don’t practice their learning skills over the summer, they will most likely experience a learning loss of one month (Cooper, 1996). Take consecutive summers off and students can lose about 18 months of learning by fifth grade. Yikes! But take heart; a little practice each day can help your child maintain and even grow new learning over the summer!
We often think to have our kids read and do math over the summer, but don’t forget the writing. In order to be a writer, one must write and write often. Just like your budding artists needs paper, paint and brushes, your developing writer needs paper, pencils, pens, crayons, scissors and ideas…lots of ideas!
Summer is a great time to branch out and play with different forms of writing. Consider encouraging your child to:
- Designate a writing spot, filled with writing tools, lots of inspiring photos and lists.
- Blog or Vlog in kid-friendly, secure web space about anything he or she loves: animals, fashion, music, sports, etc.
- Write a play and then video siblings or friends acting out the script.
- Create a game and write down the instructions on how to play.
- Take a series of action photos and write about them.
- Write and draw a comic book.
- Keep a travel journal.
- Write postcards to family members while traveling.
- Show gratitude by writing letters of appreciation to family members.
- Search for writing contests online and enter them.
- Create and write a recipe.
- Be a book and/or movie critic by keeping a log and writing a review of what he or she read/watched.
- Write down steps on how to do something he or she loves to do.
- Help make a shopping list.
- The possibilities are endless!
Talk and Write. Now, you may be thinking, “Well, this is all fine and good, but when I asked my child to write, all I get is lots of whining.” I get it. Those writing whines have been heard in my household, as well. Get your child over the writing-block hump by talking about what to write. The more your child talks about what to write, the more he or she will practice how the writing will go and the easier it will be to get started.
Celebrate. Take the time to read your child’s writing and celebrate your writer. Try to move beyond, “That’s good!” and give specific feedback. Noticing what your child did well will help build his or her writing confidence. For example, you may notice a word choice that added humor and made you laugh.
Now that you’ve spent a little time encouraging your writer and preventing summer learning loss, it’s time to resume the summer fun. Cannonball!
Laura Ouimette is the Lower School Reading Specialist at Trinity Christian Academy. She has a BA in elementary education and a MS in reading education. She and her husband, Erik, have three children.