Parents are conflicted right now. They are excited for the end of the year and all the deadlines, homework to be completed, projects to oversee and conferences to end. But, if you’re honest, you also worry a little that you should be encouraging reading and writing over the summer so your child doesn’t regress in these important skills.
When my boys were younger I had them keep journals (which lasted only a short time) of activities and outings over the summer. I often get great ideas at homes where I do speech therapy and just last week two kids shared their “journals” with me that I wanted to share.
A first grader wanted to “read” his whole journal to me. It is always so fascinating to see the invented spelling and see a child decipher it so easily when I am still struggling to see what he wrote. This little friend was using “My Journal” by Really Good Stuff which had the top half of the page for an illustration and the bottom half with lines to describe his picture. Really Good Stuff’s website has journals appropriate for kids by grade level, giving them the space for their drawing and the number of lines to write that are typical for their grade.
I’ve shared a PAL Award winner that I think is fantastic for girls 6 years old and up, “My Super Life Journal…By Me” by Pom Tree. Opportunities to write are intermingled with photographs, places to draw and sticker and felt pieces to adorn your book. Parents report that little girls get lost in it for hours as they make their DIY book about how fantastic their life is!
Fun opportunities for language growth through writing can be as simple as setting up a pretend store with a pad of paper where kids have to write down their order to receive it, or add a pad of paper to the pretend doctor’s office where the doctor writes down the diagnosis. I’ve see the latter suggestion at work in free play in a preschool and it was so funny to read the doctor’s orders–and YES the handwriting was hard to read, just like in real life!
No matter what, make it fun and learning happens.