One Thing to Practice This Summer…

Most parents start the summer with great intentions to keep things up for the upcoming school year.  They want their children to read for at least 20 minutes every day, maybe practice some math flashcards and maybe, even on a good day, learn something new like see a new bug or make some art.  Or they have a checklist that before screen time, some educational things need to be done.

I know that many have started off strong and it might have tapered off as the summer days drag on.  As a teacher I did send a few fun things home with my students, more so if they were bored that it would be better to do than video games.  And some don’t have adult support at home, so at least it was something to guide them if they did look at it.  My #1 thing I asked my students to do this summer was play outside.  And I hope they are all doing that and enjoying their summer!

But there is one skill that I’m guessing most are not practicing. It’s a skill that even parents who are diligent with keeping their students on track over the summer probably aren’t doing with their kids. And yet it’s a skill that infiltrates every part of our school day – writing.

Writing is a skill that is so very important.  But it’s not one that is practiced often at home.  Why is it so important? I know we’re not all going to be writers someday, but being able to write a decent sentence is something that will impact most career paths down the road. In our school day, we use writing to jot down thoughts about books on post-it notes, take notes on what happened in a science lab or explain our thinking in a math problem. And all of these is outside of our “writing” block of time.  And even though it’s used so much, it is not a favorite subject for most kids.  Part of me wonders if this is because they don’t like creative writing or if it’s because they don’t practice it as much as other things and so their comfort level isn’t there.

So what can you do to practice writing at home?  Some of this depends on the age of your child. For preschoolers, just having them practice proper letter formation, or draw a story with just pictures is great. And while many parents practice the letters, it seems to drop off after that.  Once they hit kindergarten and above, they can start keeping journals of their days or trips, write made-up stories or write notes while or after reading a book.  Summer is a great time to encourage journaling after different adventures happen in the summer.  When I say practice writing, I’m not talking about every word spelled correctly, every period in place or things like that.  I’m referring to getting ideas on paper, thinking about the details of what happened and practicing a skill in some way that they’ll use all day when they go back to their classroom in the fall.

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