10 Tips for Summer Writing

Summer reading may be required by schools, but for a truly educational experience over the summer, it's all about summer writing! To prevent the summer slide, the phenomenon that leaves students starting the new school year a step back from the level they finished with in June, go for reading more engaging older brother, writing. These tips will make writing in the sunshine the new favorite summertime activity for your child.

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By Debbie Glade

We all know that motivating children to read over the summer is essential. But have you considered encouraging your child to write? Developing good writing skills takes practice, and summer can be a great time for a child to be creative, when she doesn’t have heavy loads of schoolwork bogging her down. Here are some ideas to inspire your kid to write more over the summer.

Invest in Supplies

Children of all ages love the gift of a new journal and a special pen to inspire them to write stories or poetry. Younger kids may want to draw pictures with their entries. Teach your budding scribe to write the date on each entry, so that many years from now she can read her work and know when it was written.

Show Off

Have you saved any stories, poems or journals from your own childhood? Don’t be shy! Pull those lost gems out from the dusty corner of the closet and show your kid what a wordsmith you were. You are guaranteed to have a good laugh, and it will be a great inspiration to get writing.

Pen a Book

Ask your child to write a story about the school year or a recent special event. Encourage her to draw pictures, make a cover page and staple it all together to make a book. Post it proudly somewhere in your home. What a valuable keepsake!

Find a Pen Pal

Writing and receiving old-fashioned letters is a lost pastime for kids in this digital age, but corresponding with someone on another area of the globe gives kids a unique taste of culture they can’t get from social studies class. Check out International Pen Friends or Amazing Kids to set your child up with a pen pal.

Play the “Story Game”

You can play this game with any number of kids and adults. All you need is a pen and paper. One person starts by writing an introduction to a story and passes it along. As the notebook gets passed around, everyone adds new characters and new events, until finally the story winds down to its conclusion. You’ll end up with a unique story that everyone helped write!

Ask for Research

Kids ages 6 and up can be entertained by a research “assignment.” Give your kid a topic or a specific question, and turn her loose on the Internet to find the answers. Which type of insect was eating the family tomato plants? What was the population of your hometown in 1950? How many inches of rain falls in your home state each year? Tell her to report back with well-written findings.

Say Thanks

You don’t have to wait for birthdays and the holidays to send thank you notes. Pick up some blank cards and show your writing wizard how to express her gratitude for any type of kind gesture. Maybe she wants to thank her school teacher for a great year. Maybe she can thank Grandma and Grandpa for taking her to the zoo. The level of writing and length is not as important as the sentiment.

Review a Book

There are several websites that welcome book reviews from kids. This is an excellent chance for your young writer to take the time to not only read, but also edit a story and work on grammar. Check out The Reading Hub and Book Reviews by Kids. Seeing her work online will be quite a thrill.

Write to the Editor

If your child reads a magazine regularly or is interested in a news story of any kind, encourage a letter to the editor. Many journalists would welcome input from young readers. Make sure you read it for content and quality before it goes out.

Enter a Contest

There are hundreds of online writing contests for kids with an opportunity to win fun prizes. For starters, check out Smart Poodle Publishing’s writing contests for kids.

Still need more ideas? Check out our activities to build a better writer. Happy writing!

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