Stop The Summer Slide: 6 Ways to Keep Writing Skills Sharp

Before your kids turn off their brains completely once school ends, it is important to discuss ways to stop the so-called “summer slide.” You know, that time when your kids lose part of what they learned during the past school year because they are vegging out for two months straight.

Writing is important over the break to help kids prevent learning loss. And, it’s easy to work in between all that fun in the sun.

How to Get Your Kids Writing This Summer

1. Create your own book around a topic of great interest. Whether we’re trying to encourage students to read or write, I recommended that you start with your child’s passions. When kids own the choice of what they will write, motivation increases significantly. Children who love animals may want to research one and create a book – complete with text, illustrations, labeled diagrams, and more.

2. Record Family Trips. If your family will be traveling over the summer, your child can write about where you go, what you do, and the funny moments that inevitably happen along the way. Taking photographs throughout the trip will provide your child with all the material necessary to create either a physical or electronic scrapbook to share with friends and relatives.

3. Keep a journal. Both boys and girls will enjoy and benefit from keeping a daily or periodic journal. They can write about their experiences, commemorate their successes, and express their frustrations, secure in the knowledge that their personal thoughts and feelings are completely secret.

4. Send letters to family and friends. Though it may seem antiquated and out-of-date in these times of e-mailing and texting, writing letters is a terrific way to develop skills and communicate with others. In addition to corresponding with distant friends and relatives, kids can exchange letters with nearby friends, decreasing the turnaround time and, thus, creating the opportunity to communicate more frequently.

5. Extend favorite school projects. Every spring in my classroom my students create “Edge-of-Your-Seat” fiction stories that contain suspense and tension. Many kids are so excited about these projects that they choose to create sequels over the summer. Kids love reading different book series, and they take great delight in the thought of making a series of their own after the school year ends.

6. Seek out online writing opportunities. Every time kids finish reading a book, for example, they can write a review on or other sites. Children love expressing their opinions, and creating a review offers valuable persuasive writing practice. Taking a stand and supporting it with evidence is an important academic skill.

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Steve Reifman is a National Board Certified elementary school teacher in Santa Monica, CA. He is also the acclaimed author of several books, including Changing Kids’ Lives One Quote at a Time and Eight Essentials for Empowered Teaching and Learning, K-8, and the creator of the Chase Manning Mystery Series for kids 8-12.