It’s summer – we’re outside, staying up late and breaking all the routine and rules. But, I’m afraid my new little reader will forget everything she worked so hard to learn in kindergarten. And I still want my little guys to learn through play. Our family has come up with some fun ways to keep literacy alive and well this summer but in really creative ways that doesn’t dampen / distract from any of the fun we’re having either.
Take advantage of the cool air conditioning in your local library and make it a regular hang out. All libraries have summer reading programs with incentives for reading books, colouring sheets and special summer programs. Make a sticker chart to track how many books they can read this summer.
Find the Alphabet
Street signs are fun ways to practise the alphabet. Give each day a Letter and find that letter in places. Declare today is “A” day – look for “A” on all the signs as you bike, walk or drive around town. Be prepared for people to look at you a little funny when you’r kid screams “there’s another A!!!”.
How many places can we create the alphabet? Water painting on the fence? Chalk on the driveway? Scribble on the beach sand. Make them out of popsicle sticks? Paint a picture? Craft a letter? Letters can be made everywhere!
Take it Outside
Doing traditional inside activities outside always feels a bit more special and interesting. Lay on a blanket outside and read a book, set up a mini desk on the deck for “homework” or to “play school”, bike the library instead of drive. Fresh air + Literacy = Awesome.
Of course there are more traditional ways to support literacy and a common one is journaling. Every summer morning my 5 year daughter has a “job” this is her only “homework” and it takes only 5 minutes. Each day around breakfast time she draws a picture and writes a sentence or two (on her own without my help so often I need a translation but that’s the key to practise!) about her favourite part of the day before.
A positive peer pressure by-product is my 3 year old has watched now is encouraged to do the same. He draws a picture in his own scrapbook and we write a little description together.
Be a Role Model
Do you read books? We model good eating habits and good behaviour but as parents do we model good literacy habits? I love to read but ironically haven’t read a book in over a year. I just finished The Help (highly recommend!) over our vacation and my kids noticed me reading and commented. A good reminder that I too need to find time for real reading – not just online reading!
Cheers to a summer full of reading, writing, playing and learning together.