Summer vacation can be a blissful time for kids, but going for weeks on end without reading can add up to lost skills by September. If you dread the process of trying to force your child to pick up a book, try these other activities to keep literacy skills sharp during the summer months. These reading and writing games can be done anywhere, and a family vacation or trip to the beach may be just the inspiration your child needs to embrace the written word.
Telling stories around a campfire is a classic summertime activity, and it’s also one that uses plenty of literacy skills. You can discuss characters, plot and setting first; then challenge kids to tell a story within those parameters. For older students, try using more complex terms; for example, provide the climax or the type of conflict, and let kids take the story from there. You can also do a round robin-style story, in which each person takes a turn telling the tale for a couple minutes and then passes the action along to the next speaker. Even without reading and writing, oral storytelling is a powerful reminder of the elements of fiction for kids of all ages.
Children who struggle with writing often enjoy poetry because it allows them to express themselves in much smaller bites. One easy way to help reluctant writers get started is to have them write a poem based on items they find during a walk. Whether your stroll is around the block, through the zoo or along the shore, kids often enjoy describing what they’ve seen in the short, powerful language of a poem.
For older students, try turning a dry, non-fiction brochure into a poem. After a visit to the zoo, hand them the brochure and have them highlight the words that they like best; then challenge them to write a poem using only words from the provided text. Giving them the words takes away “writer’s block,” and the results are often remarkable!
Artistic kids will love the chance to collect objects and arrange photos into a scrapbook. Use their creativity to encourage writing practice by having them caption photos and write a short paragraph about the adventure depicted on each page. If you have your child complete a page of a journal or scrapbook each week of vacation, by Labor Day you’ll have a wonderful memento that’s packed with evidence of independent learning.
We’ve got loads of ideas for summer learning fun, so be sure to check out our blog and Pinterest board for even more fun summer activities to try at home!