Happy first day of summer! Some students are just getting out of classes while others are weeks in to their vacation. It's time for that tricky balance - keeping up the "summer break" vibe while making sure students are learning and/or retaining skills to help them in the fall. Summer camps, outdoor activities, and summer jobs can all provide immense benefits. But what learning options should you consider weaving in for your dysgraphic student? Here are five of our favorite summer suggestions:
1) Learning Cursive
Many dysgraphic students find cursive writing easier than printing. Each letter starts at the bottom and you don't have to pick up your pencil or pen repeatedly and remember where to place it. Since many schools are not formally teaching cursive anymore, summer can be a great time to learn. One place to start: Learning Without Tears has a number of cursive books aimed at different grade levels.
2) Improving Keyboarding
With many students typing their assignments as they get further into school, summer is a great time to work on keyboarding skills. A few programs we like:
Typing Club - Typing club is free and has programs in multiple languages, as well as story book typing.
Touch-type Read and Spell (TTRS) - TTRS is our favorite program because it teaches typing using an Orton-Gillingham based phonics approach that will also strengthen spelling skills. Plus, the lessons are extremely short, so a lesson or two each day is easy to handle on summer break. (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, try Nitro Type to increase speed. Students love it because you can race your car against others to collect prizes and bragging rights.
3) Immersion in Foreign Languages We know this suggestion makes some parents shudder because many kids who struggle with writing and spelling in English will have the same (or more) challenges in a new language at school. But languages are meant to be spoken. Part of the reason to learn one is to be able to travel and communicate. Many of our dysgraphic kids are very good listeners and strong verbal communicators. Summer is a great time to consider a language immersion class, trip, or experience where they can listen to and learn to speak words in a new language without having to write them down. There are also immersion-inspired apps that are created to be fun and have little actual writing such as DuoLingo (with courses entirely free), Rosetta Stone, and Babbel.
4) Summer "Reading"
Is your child avoiding their summer reading list? If so, consider listening to the books. 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.
5) Talking It Out
It's possible to teach composition without writing. Think about the structure of a basic paragraph. You can have a topic sentence, three examples, and a conclusion. Can this be a family dinner conversation? (You may or many not want to point out the skills they are learning.) Try:
What did you think about [insert today's summer break activity]?
Why? Can you tell me three reasons you felt that way? or What three things did you like/dislike the most?
Why is that important? or So, what did you learn about [activity]?
If you want, you can recap the 'essay' that your student just 'wrote' verbally by repeating it back to them.
We hope everyone has a fantastic summer!
Important note: Dysgraphia Life is an affiliate partner of Amazon and TTRS and may earn a percentage on purchases at no cost to you. We still only recommend items that we feel could be beneficial for our community!