Summer skills hacks
Eight ways to keep the kids reading and writing while they’re off from school
“School’s out!” As the kids throw their notebooks and textbooks in the air, ready for a summer of sun and relaxation, it can be worrisome for parents, concerned that their kids’ reading and writing skills will suffer during the two months they are out of the classroom.
But summer is a great time to introduce the fun side of playing with words and escaping into new worlds, through books and writing.
1. Let them read (almost) anything. Comic books? Awesome. Books that are a level or two below where they should be? Great. Anything that keeps them engaged, reading and entertained. Visit the Sidekick comic book store in Leslieville where they can pick out some new reads while you have a cup of coffee.
2. Have some video game addicts? If you’re going to allow some time onscreen, check out games that have a big story attached to them, that the kids have to read, onscreen (our favourites include Nintendo Puzzle & Dragons Z, but there’s tons more to check out on www.nintendo.com).
3. Bring back the board games! Plan an outing to Snakes & Lattes and pick up a word game from the new Spot it! to old favourites like Scrabble, Boggle and any game that involves reading cards.
4. Discover the fun- and factfilled books of bestselling Toronto author Helaine Becker. From insects to space to magic and even learning how to be a spy, her books excite and entertain.
5. Cursive writing isn’t always being taught in school now, so find a workbook at Chapters Indigo or worksheets online that you can print and the kids can do on a rainy afternoon.
6. Art can inspire writing. Take the kids to the Warhol Revisited showing at the Revolver Gallery on Bloor Street and have them describe (in words) their favourite Andy Warhol creation.
7. Buy some fun stationary from the Papery that the kids can use to write to each other, Grandma or a sibling at camp. You don’t have to see the letter; it can be their private correspondence.
8. Create a recipe book with their favourite foods. Work with them to find the original recipe, read it out and then rewrite it in their own hand (or on the computer) for a personalized cookbook.
Most importantly, lead or, more appropriately, READ by example.
Let the kids catch you reading. Put down the phone, the tablet and turn off the laptop and the television.
If you are reading a book on an e-reader or tablet, to younger children it may appear you’re playing games. Try to find real reading material that makes a visual impact to the kids as well.
Talk about what you’re reading with the family and why you find it interesting, and they should too.
Integrate reading and writing into activities you plan for the kids