School's out for summer! But how do you keep your kids learning and engaged? Most kids with writing difficulties hate worksheets -- we have some alternatives for you to ensure they are still getting a dose of language arts over the summer.
Summer is a great time to work on keyboarding skills that will help with writing in the fall.
Typing Club - Typing club is free and has programs in multiple languages, as well as story book typing.
Touch-type Read and Spell (TTRS) - One of our favorites is TTRS because it teaches typing using an Orton-Gillingham based phonics approach that will also strengthen spelling skills at the same time. Even better, the lessons are extremely short (think 2 minutes) so even those with attention deficit issues can handle a lesson or two a day. (Note: our link automatically gives you a 10% discount, or you can use the code DGLIFE.)
Nitro Type - Once your child is proficient in key and letter placement, the most fun game around to increase typing speed is Nitro Type. Race your car against others to collect prizes and bragging rights.
Composition... a.k.a. Storytelling
Kids don't always have to realize that they are learning writing skills!
Writing is often hard for kids in our community... but that doesn't mean that they have to learn valuable language arts lessons the hard way. After doing an activity with them, have them tell you about it. Yet, do it in a structured way:
"What did you think about [the museum, the park, the walk we just took]?"
Let them answer. Don't tell them this is their topic sentence. Maybe it's something simple like, "I loved it!" You can rephrase this for them. "So... you love going for walks with me over summer break."
"Can you give me three examples of why you think that?"
They may start with one. That's ok, keep prompting. "You got to see a dog, that's great. What else?" Together you can get to three ideas. These are the supporting examples.
"So what does all of that mean?" or "What did we learn?" or "Why is that important?"
This is their conclusion. It's important to teach them that they need to summarize or restate what we learned from the topic sentence and the examples.
If you want, you can repeat their answers back to them and tell them about what a great paragraph they just composed:
Walks are a lot of fun during the summer. When you are out walking, you can see dogs and other pets. You may pass a playground. You can even wave at your friend's house. We enjoy walking together and may want to do it again tomorrow.
In this way, you are building composition skills without the stress. They just 'wrote' a paragraph with the key parts. Over time expand on this concept and create different types of paragraphs (a persuasive argument; a story with a beginning, middle, and end) or expand to a whole verbal essay with multiple sentences for each "supporting example". These are great language arts skills that they will need in school and can work on without the pressure of writing it down.
Read, Listen, and Learn
Vocabulary and knowledge can be gained from many sources.
Reading is fantastic for students of any age and one of the quintessential summer activities. There are many great books to have your child read this summer.
But if your child is not a reader? What then? The good news is that listening to books at the appropriate grade level can also increase vocabulary and language skills. Many local libraries have audiobooks and you can also subscribe to services like Audible Plus. Try all types of genres - fiction, biography, science and expose them to something new. Even podcasts can be sources of learning and vocabulary.
Most importantly, enjoy the summer! Let your kids learn from new experiences and find new topics that they will want to write about when it's time to head to back to school. Writing is always more fun with an inspiring topic ( check out this success story).
Important note: Dysgraphia Life is an affiliate partner of Amazon and TTRS and may earn apercentage on purchases at no cost to you. We still only recommend items that we feel could be beneficial for our community!