Have Fun This Summer With Reading & Writing

    By Scott Lutostanski

A common phrase I hear these days is, “They just don’t make kids write as much as they used to.” Although I will say this argument feels a little Bart Starr is better than Aaron Rodgers-esque, I do think there is some truth to this as well. Students are not required to write very much as they make their journey through middle school and high school. In addition, a lot of “writing” happening in a kid’s life is actually texting, which follows a very informal format that doesn’t always care about proper grammar. In short, students are writing with less frequency and less intent.

This blog isn’t a call for large-sweeping societal or educational changes, but a statement of a fact: in order to get better at something, it needs to be practiced. Summer is a great time for students to really practice those reading and writing skills and have fun while doing it!  

I often reflect on my own writing story. After college, I went a couple years without writing anything but emails. I had no other reason to write except for communication at work. Eventually, in order to spice up a fantasy football league with friends, I started writing a weekly newsletter that broke down games, analyzed players, and made jokes about members in the league. As lighthearted and meaningless as it was, it provided me with 400-800 words each week of creative and informational writing that required organization, structure, and effort. I truly believe writing these 14 emails each year drastically improved my writing ability. It gave me a reason to practice a skill I otherwise wasn’t using. This is what students need: a reason to write, no matter how formal or casual. 

The same goes for reading. While some might assume this means students should read books, it really means they just need to read. Period. Books are great, but so are articles, websites, magazines, and more. Anything a student is interested can be a vehicle for leisure reading. The more a student reads, the better they get at it, and the less it feels like a chore. It is all about practice, which will lead to improved reading and writing ability.

As challenging as it might be for parents to get their kids reading and writing in the summer, it’s important to keep fighting the good fight and encouraging students during break. Below is a list of  summer reading and writing resources some members of the Galin Education staff put together.