According to the website of the National Summer Learning Association, “all young people experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer.” I want to help support my middle-schoolers’ language skills during this time. This year, I put together a handout with suggestions on what families can do over the break:
1. Visit a Museum
- While at the museum, go on a scavenger hunt. There are plenty of pre-made hunts online. Some scavenger hunts ask simple “wh” questions and others may require critical thinking. The best part is that the students are learning without even realizing it!
- Ask students to come home with three facts they learned. They can take pictures (if allowed) as a reminder and/or jot down details.
- On the way to museum, review common museum terms such as exhibit, ancient, extinct, era, discovery and more.
2. Write a journal
For students who need to work on writing skills, suggest journaling. Ask them to create a summer writing journal and decorate it. Students can write what they do day-to-day, or print a list of pre-made writing prompts. I found a sample list of writing prompts online.
3. Play language games
SLPs often collect and hoard board games that we use to reinforce target goals. Why not share some of these with parents? Common games played in my room appropriate for middle school include:
- Apples to Apples
- You’ve Been Sentenced
- Baffle Gab
4. Read, read, read.
I know this seems obvious, but it’s so important for kids to continue reading over the summer. In my school, we charge kids with reading every day for at least an hour. Send home a list of books that kids in your caseload may enjoy reading. Also, encourage parents to ask their kids questions about characters, problems, solutions, settings and other story details.
Why not try a new hobby while home for the summer? Older students can make many yummy dishes and cooking offers another fun way for parents to engage with their kids. You can find plenty of no-bake recipes online for kids who stay home alone during the day. Reading a recipe teaches following directions, comprehension and vocabulary. It’s also a pretty important life skill (in my opinion).
These are just some ideas to help your kids get going and keep busy this summer! What summer activities do you suggest for your older kids?
Gabriella Schecter, MS, CCC-SLP, is a full-time SLP working in a grade 6-12 school. She posts regularly on Instagram (@middleschoolSLP), sharing ideas and activities for this age group. Check out her blog or contact her at MiddleschoolSLP@gmail.com.