Summer Learning: Secondary Literacy

Summer is the perfect time to continue supporting your teenager’s literacy in a more relaxed environment. The break can be a great opportunity for teens to focus on their special interests and develop their literacy skills in fun and engaging ways.  

Journal Writing

Practice writing at a manageable level for your teen.   

  • Have a journal, paper, or sticky notes that your teen can use to write daily or nightly. Your child can draw, sketch, or doodle to go with their writing or find pictures online to make a collage. You can also match photos you may take during your daily routine and activities.  
  • Let them use a computer with a keyboard to practice typing skills and create a digital journal or blog. They can also include pictures to go with their summer experiences. 
  • For resistant writers, you can suggest they use speech-to-text. An example would be asking Google or Siri to make a note in your Notes app on your phone or tablet.  
  • Focus on creativity, and don’t stress about spelling or grammar.  
  • Make journaling more exciting with colourful pens, pencils, or markers.  
  • Celebrate the act of writing and offer a reward after meeting writing goals. (e.g. fill a journal by the end of the summer = water park)  

Summer Reading

Encourage them to read whatever they enjoy!  

  • Graphic novels are a great way to engage reluctant readers. 
  • Check out summer programs at your local library or make an event out of picking up some new books together.  
  • Show your teen how to find new and exciting books at the library that tie into your own special interests.  
  • Use the summer to pre-read any novels that may come up in the next school year.  
  • If they are going to study a Shakespeare play next year, watch the movie.  
  • Check out graphic nonfiction books on other subjects to prepare for next year (Social Studies, etc.).
  • If your child is interested in world events, sports, etc., have them read the newspaper and summarize what happened. You can also split up articles and take turns telling family and friends the summary, so you do it sometimes, and your teen does it sometimes. 
  • Audiobooks can be a great way to enjoy stories together during long car rides or while relaxing at home.
  • Find podcasts on topics your teen is interested in. Many podcasts have a transcript to follow along and continue reading practice.  
  • Keep track of reading and make it fun by creating a reading bingo or other reading challenges with a reward at the end.   

Becky Bishop, Senior Manager, Youth and Adult Programs

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