Over the summer, one of the fastest and biggest areas of academics to slip is writing skills. The area of writing depends so much on reading that if reading skills fall, writing will fall even more. So it’s helpful to sneak in writing workshop at home, and it’s not too hard to do sneak it in without kids even realizing it.
6 ways to sneak writing skills into your child’s routine
With a million things going on at any one time, I know it helps me to make lists of things I need to do, the same can (and often should) be done with children. Work with your child to sequence a things to do list into an order that simplifies natural steps. A very basic example that we write every day after camp:
- Unpack backpack
- Put dirty swim gear into laundry room
- Unpack lunch bag
- Pack lunch for tomorrow
- Sprinklers and swingset time
- Chalk drawing
- Play quietly in your room
Sequencing is a key to organized writing and helps with summary skills as well. Making sequencing a part of your child’s day helps him understand how order works in life.
Ask about your child’s top 3 highlights
After an activity or a day at camp, ask your child what his three favorite things were that he did or learned. Asking your child for information such as this helps him to recall his day and sort through the main ideas and supporting details. If he loved skipping rocks in the pond, but not falling into the pond, he’s finding that a supporting detail is imperative to his story.
Lead by example
Every night at dinner, we ask each other about our days and offer brief summaries. Depending on a child’s level of maturity, a summary might be a lists “and then we…” or it could be three highlights (see above). When it’s your turn, don’t just say “I had a good day” and move on to the next child, offer the supporting details to explain why your day was so good. Your child will cue in to your patterns and attempt to adapt his summaries.
Brainstorm a list of things to do
One of my favorite Pinterest boards lists dozens of Summer Bucket Lists. Bucket lists offer many unique writing and learning opportunities: they help to set goals, they offer ideas when you have “nothing to do” and they help to create a sense of purpose to your summer. But when created together as a family, a summer bucket list offers a great opportunity to re-learn the concept of brainstorming individually and as a group as well as listening and taking turns–all imperative skills for children in school.
Mandatory Writing Time
Many families work mandatory reading time into their days year round. But do you also include mandatory writing time? Help your children to make a journal, or just pick a favorite notebook, and encourage your kids to journal about their summer days or weeks. Younger kids can draw pictures to illustrate their activities while older can begin to write poems and stories.
Play games, sing songs
Kids love playing games and, often, never realize what great opportunities games offer. Just the other night, the kids brought home a song from day camp and started singing. I encouraged them to change the words and for the next hour we were singing new poems that made us giggle with delight. We were rhyming, brainstorming and keeping rhythm, too, all writing skills.
Sit around the table and each add a line to a story creates a story in the round. Using Rory’s Story Cubes – Original and Actions* gives creators prompts and challenges them to adjust a normal story. There are countless ways to play with them!
How does your family incorporate writing skills into their daily routine?
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net*this post includes an affiliate link Summer bucket list found at http://blog.landofnod.com/honest-to-nod/2011/07/ambition.html