Beating the Brain Drain Through Literacy: Webinar Recap with Printable Activity Sheet – by Julie C. Lyons

This past week, Lumos Learning hosted a webinar for students: “Beating the Brain Drain Through Literacy.” During this webinar, we provided the students with several ideas for keeping their literacy skills sharp in the summertime.

Webinar recap

Here’s a handy chart with the ideas from the webinar, ready for you to post on your refrigerator. Let your child pick and choose the activities that appeal to him or her. Of course, reading should be nonnegotiable, but the list below provides alternatives for reluctant readers – or for those who just don’t enjoy reading a traditional fiction novel. The first set of activities touch upon ideas that reinforce writing skills, while the second half addresses reading skills. There is also room on the chart to date or check off activities your child has completed.

Writing skills, spelling, and/or vocabulary
Keep a journal (things you do, places you go, people you meet)
Even though journals work on spelling skills, be sure your child understands that spelling “doesn’t count”. Most children like to keep their journals private, so they don’t need to worry about perfect skills or that someone else is going to read/grade what they wrote.
Start a blog
Enable privacy settings to keep viewers limited to friends and family. Check out WordPress, Squarespace, and Quillpad to begin blogging.
Get published
The following places publish student work: The Clairmont Review, CyberKids, Creative Kids Magazine, New Moon, and The Young Writer’s Magazine.
Write letters
Have your child write or type letters, postcards, and emails to friends and family members.
Take part in a family movie night
Watch movies that are thought-provoking to elicit interesting post-movie discussions. Other good bets are movies that are based on a book (read the book first and compare the two).
Organize a family game night
Choose word games to work on spelling and vocabulary skills (examples: Scrabble, Boggle, and Hangman).
Reading skills: fluency, comprehension, critical thinking, decoding skills,inferencing, etc.
Pick up a good book!
Places to find/buy/borrow books include: your public library, ebooks, yard sales, book stores, your child’s school library (if it’s open during the summer), and borrowed books from friends and family members.
Read materials that aren’t “books”…
Ideas include: karaoke lyrics, cereal boxes, newspapers, magazines for kids, billboards, close captioning, and audio books.
Compete! Enter a reading challenge
Scholastic Reading hosts a competition called “Reading Under the Stars” to break a world record for minutes read. Barnes and Noble gives students the opportunity to earn one free book with “Imagination’s Destination” reading challenge.

Note: Reading just six books over the summer can maintain – and sometimes even increase! – your child’s reading level. Not sure if the book is appropriate for your child’s reading level? Use the five-finger rule: have your son/daughter read a page of a book. Each time your child encounters a word that is unfamiliar or unknown, he or she holds up a finger. If your child holds up more than five fingers on a given page, that book is probably too difficult.

However, there are some books that a child will successfully tackle if it’s high-interest to him or her. Keep in mind that reading levels are a guide (as is the five-finger rule), and some children may exceed expectations…so don’t hold your child back if he or she really wants to read a particular book (even if it may appear to be too challenging).

Remember, if students do some of these simple activities, they can prevent the typical four to six weeks of learning loss due to the “summer slide.” And since spelling, vocabulary and reading skills are vulnerable areas, be sure to encourage your child to maintain his or her current literacy level…it will go a long way come September!

Summer Learning Kit for Parents


Julie Lyons