As some students head into the summer months, it means a long break from school. This isn’t necessarily a good thing for students because their skills can weaken over the summer. Inevitably, as students return in the fall, there are a few weeks spent catching up on dull or forgotten skills.
One way to counteract this is to give the students something to do over the summer break. Writing skills are some of the easiest to lose if we don’t use them on a regular basis. Students will typically read a little bit here or there, but they won’t necessarily pick up a pencil all summer.
Sharpening Students’ Writing Skills
So, how can we keep students writing during the summer break? If they have email to contact their teacher, this can be a useful way to have students continue working on writing skills. Even without that, students can handwrite notes in a journal. Teachers shouldn’t see this as a “gradable” activity—just one to encourage students to keep writing.
Here are some ideas that you can send home with your students over the summer. Challenge them to write once a week, whether they email it to you or not. These are all summer themed and may give the student a variety to pick from—plus, they cover the different types of writing that are part of the common core standards:
Narrative Writing: Creative
- You found a strange note written on a piece of paper in your backyard. On it was the following message…
- Imagine your tree house is magical like Jack and Annie’s. Where does it take you?
- Your parents wake up and are startled to find that you have lost all of your hair! Here is the story that you tell them…
- You never thought you would end up in outer space, but you did. Here’s how…
- Imagine you are a character in your favorite summer movie. Write about what you are thinking and what you are going to do.
Narrative Writing: Personal Essay
- If you could travel anywhere over the summer, where would you go and who would you go with?
- What is the hardest part of summer? Why?
- Look for people around you that need help and write about some ways you could help them.
- Sit outside for a period of time—maybe an hour or so. Write about what you see and how your feel.
- Write a letter to a school friend that you don’t get to see much during the summer.
- Check out a book from the public library and write a review on it.
- Letter to the editor: Why should summer break be longer?
- Think about your favorite summer recreational activity (swimming, camping, library, etc.). Write to the manager and give them a suggestion for how it could be improved.
- Write a letter to your parents about why they need to build you a treehouse or take you on vacation.
- Write a persuasive note about your favorite summer movie to encourage others to see it.
- Describe your best new invention—then ask your parents if you can build it!
- Bury treasure for a friend or sibling and give them a map with directions to find it.
- For only a little bit of money, you can plant a flower or vegetable seed. Write about it once a week and keep track of how it grows and what it looks like.
- Create a map of your town, city, or neighborhood. Give directions for how to get to your favorite places.
- Ask your parents first, but see if there is an old piece of electronics or equipment that you can take apart. Describe each of the parts and what you think it does.
Whether it starts with these prompts or something else you may have to give them, students can keep their skills sharp with just a little bit of extra motivation. Here’s to a full summer of writing!
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