Changing Colors: The Blog of Spectrum Pediatrics

May 28, 2014

How to Keep Language & Literacy Skills Growing During Summer Break

By: Tracy Huppert Magee, MEd, CCC-SLP

Many children are looking forward to the end of the school year, and the beginning of the lazy days of summer.  Nevertheless, many parents are concerned about their child losing some of the academic skills they gained throughout the school year.  The American Speech and Language Hearing Association recently provided a wonderful podcast for parents with strategies about how to incorporate language and literacy into the summer days.  Here is a summary of the ideas highlighted from that presentation to aid your child in literacy and language growth over the school break!

  1. Literacy and language are very closely related. Literacy is simply a person’s ability to write and read.  Language is composed of the abilities to participate in oral conversations (both speaking and hearing) and listening to books that are read aloud.  Language skills are based around the exposure that a child has to conversations, books, and life experiences.
  2. Ask your child SPECIFIC questions. If you ask your child, “What did you do at camp today?,” you will probably receive the answer, “Nothing.”  It is important to invest time in knowing the child’s schedule and activities for the day.  That way, you can ask more specific questions that will engage the child in conversation.  Discussing the specific activities of your child’s day will also provide the opportunity to teach and discuss new vocabulary and concepts to your child.
  3. Activities shouldn’t be tedious. Children want to enjoy themselves during the summer months, so it is important to make sure that you don’t require a book report each week.  Some ideas for keeping literacy and language at the forefront (and keeping it fun) are:
    • Have your child help write the menu or schedule for the week.
    • Incorporate an art activity each day that includes following directions, writing, talking while working, and answering/asking questions.
    • Have your child “journal” about an experience each day.
    • Ask your child questions when participating in daily routines each day, such as cooking lunch, going to the pool, or packing for a trip.  Opportunities for vocabulary growth abound!
  4. Apps are great for language/literacy growth…in moderation. Many SLPs utilize apps on a smart device to keep the child interested and work on maintaining or learning new skills.  Consult with your SLP about the areas of weakness for your child, and he/she can probably provide you with some apps that will target those skills for your child.  Remember, monitor the child’s screen time!

Listen to the entire podcast here for more information about how to foster language and literacy over the summer months!  Have fun!

Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3

 

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