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Summer is a Hot Time to Practice Writing Skills

May 29, 2017
Summer is finally here! 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. The education experts at Sylvan Learning, the leading provider of tutoring to students of all ages, grades and skill levels, have 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 timely subjects.  
  • For example, Independence Day on July 4th is a good opportunity 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 because…. 
  • On the Fourth of July, my family and I usually… 
  • If someone asked me what my country means to me, I would say…  

Sylvan Tips on Writing
  • 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. Make sure grammar, spelling and punctuation are perfect before you declare anything “finished.” 
  • Don’t rely on a computer’s spellchecker to ensure proper spelling.  

In April 2008, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released The Nation’s Report Card: Writing 2007, showing that both American 8th and 12th graders have only slightly improved their writing proficiency since 2002. The study showed a decrease in achievement between middle school and the completion of high school. In fact, the “proficient” scores drop approximately 9% between 8th and 12th grades. And, 1% of American students are considered to perform at an “advanced” writing level by the end of 12th grade – the crucial timeframe when writing skills are most needed for college preparation or entering the workforce. 

Sylvan Learning can help students improve their writing skills before the beginning of the new school year. The Sylvan Academic Writing program is designed to help students understand many writing formats and styles, including illustrative and descriptive essays, comparative passages, persuasive writing, expository writing, summaries and outlines. Students in the program also complete exercises in grammar, spelling, vocabulary, paragraph structure and essay development. In addition, Sylvan can help juniors and seniors in high school prepare for college and the workplace with its College Prep Writing program. College Prep Writing is a 36-hour program providing a solid foundation in upper-level writing, including “how-to” help with college applications and essays, targeting efforts on SAT* and ACT® writing sections, refining research skills and understanding source documentation. Visit the “Writing” area of www.SylvanLearning.com to learn more.

For additional educational resources for children in grades pre-K through 12, please visit www.SylvanLearning.com or call (866-684-9105).