Regular Practice Creates Better Writers

Summer is a Hot Time to Practice Writing Skills

With summer just around the corner, children are enjoying the warm weather, fun activities with friends and vacation time.  But, summer can also be an enjoyable learning experience.  The summer break provides many memorable moments, and writing about them is a good way to record those memories and practice writing skills at the same time.  

Parents tend to focus on their children's reading and math skills, overlooking that writing is an education fundamental.  It's fast becoming the forgotten ‘R’.  This is unfortunate, as writing is an important part of every facet of education, not just in English class.  Writing proficiency can have a major impact on other subject areas too.

Summer vacation provides an excellent opportunity for children to explore their creative writing skills.  Dr. Richard E. Bavaria, Ph.D. and senior vice president for education outreach fro Sylvan Learning, has developed the following tips to help parents encourage their children to write over the summer:

Pick an Engaging Topic
Persuading your child to write over the summer break may be easier if you help them identify fun and engaging topics.  Suggest some timely subjects. 

  • For example, Independence Day on July 4or Canada Day on July 1 are good opportunities for your children to explore their own patriotism. 
  • Ask them if they know what patriotism is, and what it means to them.  Encourage your children by helping them with some research about America, its history, people and places. 

Give Story Starters
Sometimes the most difficult part of writing can be getting started.  Help your children write their patriotic essays by giving them topic ideas, such as:

  • I am proud to be American/Canadian because….
  • On the Fourth of July/July 1, my family and I usually…
  • If someone asked me what my country means to me, I would say…

Tips on Writing for Students
Good writing takes time. Spend time organizing your ideas and thinking about what you really want to say in your essay.

  • Use the Internet or library to research your topic.
  • Prepare an outline before you begin to write. 
  • Use transition words, such as “after,” “although,” “before,” “however” and “therefore” to help your ideas flow together.
  • Be willing to revise. Change your sentences and paragraphs around, add material that lends to your writing and delete material that doesn’t work.
  • Avoid clichés and jargon.
  • Always keep a dictionary handy to help with spelling.
  • Use a thesaurus to help you think of a new way to say something.
  • Ask someone else to edit your work.
  • Proofread everything. Ensure grammar, spelling and punctuation are perfect before you declare anything “finished.”
  • Don’t rely on a computer’s spellchecker to ensure proper spelling.

Dr. Rick In The News - March 2, 2011
Baltimore Celebrates Read Across America - March 2, 2011
Read Across America Interview

The Friday Flyer - February 18, 2011
Parents can Nurture the Love of Reading

Multiples and More - July 5, 2010
Expert Post: Dr. Rick of Sylvan Learning - May 15, 2010
Summer Skill Sharpeners

Blog Posting Rules

This blog is for the good of education - for students, for teachers and for parents. I very much value a two-way communication with you and welcome and encourage your comments and feedback. However, to facilitate a constructive conversation that is beneficial to everyone in this online community, I expect the same respect in your comments that I present in my blog.

Read the full Dr. Rick Blog Posting Rules.