Keep Students Writing All Summer

Reposted with permission from

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post on 6 Resources to Help Stop the Summer Slide. While summer break is quickly coming to an end, there is still close to a month remaining before many students will be returning to class. This means there is still plenty of time to brush up on skills that will be required when the school year begins. My previous post aimed to assist with this, but focused on reading. However, it is just as important that students are writing over the summer as well. In this post I’ve listed several ideas to help students do just that, in addition to a new contest that could put some free software in your hands!

A girl writing happily

So how can you encourage students to write during a long break from school? The first rule is to make it fun. When an activity is fun it doesn’t feel like work. Therefore relating writing activities to fun summer experiences is a great place to start.

For example, did students take a vacation, go to the pool, or visit with grandparents? These are great activities to include in a journal. Not only does writing about it tend to remind learners about their favourite parts of an experience, but it also gives them something to review later in the year when the next summer break seems decades away. Haven’t taken a vacation yet? Students could write a “bucket list” of things they hope to accomplish before the break ends.

Students can also write reviews of books they are reading. This is a great strategy to pair with some of the summer reading resources listed in my previous post. Not only does this provide writing practice, but will also help to increase comprehension of books read.

It is also important to remember that not all writing takes place with a pen and paper. Using technology to assist with writing is an important component of getting ready for school. For example, instead of keeping a physical journal, students could start a blog for free using WordPress or Google’s Blogger platform. This not only increases engagement, but also allows students to write for a larger audience. Family members and friends can comment on blog posts to encourage even more writing.

Using tablets such as iPads is another way to encourage writing. These devices can be used with blogging platforms listed above, or with a variety of other apps. Students who struggle with writing can also benefit from the use of specialised apps such as iReadWrite. iReadWrite is

…an easy-to-use reading and writing App that runs directly on the iPad with no Wi-Fi or 3G necessary. It includes powerful support features that benefit struggling readers and writers of all ages, especially those with dyslexia, dysgraphia, or other learning difficulties.

You can view a great video of the app can be found here:

In fact, a contest just announced today will be giving away iReadWrite for free to selected winners. To enter, just share your ideas and suggestions for how to keep students writing during summer vacation. You can do this by commenting on this post here, tweeting us on Twitter, posting on our Facebook or Google+ page, or by emailing us. The contest ends August 1st at 5pm Eastern so be sure to submit your ideas before then! Official rules can be found here:

Other ideas to keep students writing over the remainder of the summer include:

  • Write a summer newsletter for friends, family, or the neighbourhood.
  • Write letters or emails to a new teacher, grandparents, or summer counsellors.
  • Create a family tree that includes pictures and a short biography of each family member.
  • Write words related to summer and find related images to go with each word.

Of course, these are just a few of the ways to encourage students to write over the summer. More ideas, including links to helpful templates related to tips included in this post, can be found on sites such as’s Summer Slide page –

What additional ideas do you have to keep students writing over the remainder of the summer? Remember to let us know through the comments section here (or other method listed above) for your chance to win a free copy of iReadWrite!

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About Jason Carroll

Jason first learned of Assistive Technology while working on his undergraduate degree where much of his spare time was spent assisting a regional education centre with basic technology needs. Amazed at how this technology could benefit so many students (particularly those he grew up with) he was hooked and immediately became an expert at the centre. After receiving his Masters, Jason returned to the coop to serve as a full time Assistive Technology Consultant serving over 200 schools in the central Kentucky Region.

Since this time, Jason has trained thousands on Assistive Technology and Universal Design for Learning concepts throughout the United States and beyond. His focus is on integrating research based practices into the work he does and helping others ensure that what they are doing works. He specialises in assisting people to bridge the gap between operation of technology and actual implementation. Jason is a published author, has taught Instructional Technology and Universal Design for Learning at the University level, and spends a significant amount of time on e-Learning and blended learning initiatives. He is a graduate of the Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program (ATACP) from California State University at Northridge and holds a Masters in Business Administration.

Currently Jason serves as Product Marketing Manager for North America at Texthelp Inc. where he oversees new product launches and speaks nationally on a variety of Assistive Technology topics.

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