summer story competition feedback

Lumos Short Story Winners! Here are the winners who participated in the Lumos short story competition Summer 2019. The three winners of the Summer Story are Opeyemi, Ella Dunn, Marianna Alfaro. Mr. George Smith is a children’s book author and publisher. He also conducts writing workshops at schools. He has reviewed and has also added his valuable inputs, on how to improve writing skills
Opeyemi’s Story Mr. George Smith’s Feedback for Opeyemi’s Story
I used to spend my summers playing video games I spent my summer in other unproductive ways. and doing other unproductive things.

That’s the way I spent my summer until my dad bought me a Lumos Learning book. To be honest, I didn’t really want to use my Lumos Learning book, but I did tried it and I loved using it. What I really mostly liked about it were the laugh practices. My favorite laugh practice is on page 20. It reminded me of everything I learned in the school year.

The Lumos learning book wasn’t the only fun thing about my summer; my family also went to Canada!

We only went to Canada because one of Dad’s colleagues was getting married.

We were supposed to go fly to Canada on an airplane but our flight got canceled, so we had to go on a 9-hour road trip. Canada was a cool place. My family and I had lots of fun. [We only went to Canada because one of Dad’s colleagues was getting married.] When we went to eat in a giant paper/plastic tent the yellow rice had too much sugar but the meat and the spices tasted really good. The bugs, flies, and mosquitos were big, but not very big compared to the size of a human. After we finished eating, we left.

The wedding was held in a Sikh temple. On the wedding day, I was very confused about why we were all had to wear turbans, why some people had swords, why we were sitting on the floor, and what language the people were saying speaking and why there was a tomb with an old man sitting in front of it. in the Sikh temple. But then someone from the temple answered all my questions, and after that I was very interested in learning about Indian culture. OR After that experience I was very interested in learning about Indian culture and getting answers to my questions.


A few days after that, w When we returned home to New York, I went to the YMCA summer camp. We stayed in the G gymnasium singing camp songs and after that, my group’s councilor counselor paired us up with partners, and before long everyone had a partner.

2 We also went to Highland Park and we played a game where there is a president and a bodyguard and a circle of people around the president and bodyguard them. [This sentence is too long; a run-on sentence. Split it.] and the The people try to use a ball to try and hit the president (the president and the bodyguard can shift positions and the bodyguard has to stand in front of the president to protect him from getting hit).

After that, we went back inside and did some research on Dr. Seuss. Then, we went to eat lunch outside, but there were a lot of bugs outside. After that we played lots and lots of games until it was pickup time. Even though my summer was a little rough, I had a great time and by the time the next school year starts, I’ll be ready for fourth grade.
This is a very interesting story and shows great writing skills for a student only in third grade.





Explain why you didn’t want to use the Lumos book.







Better to use a semicolon instead of a comma to separate two connected sentences.


I moved the sentence “We only went….married” up to where it is shown in red because it explains the reason for the trip to Canada, instead of leaving it where the author had it because where it was was in between the author explaining about the trip (the flight being canceled) and explaining what they did on the trip.


Explain more about the tent – was it set up for the wedding guests and served to the guests the night before the wedding? Or did your family discover it when they went out looking for a place to have dinner?


Inserting the sentence in red explains why the author had all these questions.


Adding the sentences in red better explain why the author was interested in learning more about the Indian culture.










Explain what activities you did with your partner. Otherwise, why mention it.



Good description of the game.










Explain what you learned about Dr. Seuss or don’t mention it.


This last sentence shows a very positive attitude by the author about her summer experiences.
Ella Dunn’s Story Mr. George Smith’s Feedback for Ella Dunn’s Story
This summer was quite an adventure. For the first time in years, I finally enjoyed it fully. In past summers, I’ve just gotten bored within the first few weeks and longed for school. So, here goes nothing.

First thing after we got out of school, my little sister, Nora, and I flew up to northern California to visit my mom’s family. We went roller skating, shopping, and visited the family cabin. We even got to spend time with my cousin before she flew out to Oklahoma.

After we came back, When we returned, my mom had moved. We now lived right next to a YMCA, library, and a pool. After the trip, Our summer mellowed out a bit because I took advantage of the facilities near my new house. My summer was a whirlwind of reading, swimming and going to the gym at my mom’s, and writing and making music at my dad’s. I entered a lot of writing competitions and through them I’ve found some pretty cool writing sites that way, such as theprose.com.

Last Wednesday, we got back from a another trip. My other younger sister Audrey had the Mt. Hood Soccer Challenge in Portland, Oregon. In between games, we visited a science museum, got the some famous Voodoo doughnuts, and attended a Portland Thorns soccer game. It was a blast! Well, it It was all worth it because Audrey’s team won the tournament for her division! Go, Sharks!

Next, we drove up to Seattle, Washington. We got to drive our car onto a ferry. I don’t know why I found that so cool, but I did. We arrived at our hotel and decided to relax. We watched Big City Greens, which my sisters and I agreed was a pretty dumb show, and chowed down on Dominoes Domino’s Pizza.

Our first The next day, all of us we girls were looking forward to sleeping in after getting up for early soccer games. But no. Dad wanted to see the Hoh Rainforest. I’ll admit, it sounded cool and the photos looked chill.

But, man, was I wrong. My dad lied to us, though he denies it, and when he said that the drive was would be four 4 hours. Well, it turned out to be 7 hours. But we stopped and took a hike on the way, which was beautiful. The hike went along a creek to a waterfall. We all wished we had brought our water shoes.

We kept driving and finally got there. I didn’t see what the big deal was at first, but about 20 seconds into the hike, we came across a beautiful pond. We continued hiking, looking at all of the lush vegetation in the Hall of Moss. It was beautiful.

Well, it was beautiful until I found out the hard way that I should have warned my family about the “BEWARE OF YELLOWJACKETS” sign I had seen earlier. Whoops. Anyway, my sister, Audrey got stung. Whoops! Tears were shed.

My parents told her to go back to the pond and stick her hand in the cool water. I, Being the eldest, I volunteered to go with her. Nora, being Nora, decided that she would come, too. Yay. Yea.They say that three’s a crowd, so I guess that was what we were. As we walked, I saw some mud and offered to put some on the sting. I think I had read it in a book before that mud helps relieve the pain from a bee sting. I think. (To be clear, I looked it up later on and I was right. Yay Yea, me.)

We walked back to the pond, which wasn’t so amazing as before, because we found, with our senses on high alert, that the pond had many, many yellow jackets. One landed on Nora’s arm and got its little butt down, ready to sting her without provocation. We all screamed, drawing the attention of other hikers, and ran away. Well, our parents weren’t where we left them. As we walked along, Audrey finally agreeing agreed with the mud idea.

We found two women on the path and asked to use a their phone to call our parents. Logical solution, right? Well, I’d forgotten we were in the mountains. The reception was awful. So, we made do with what we had. Fortunately, one of the ladies gave Audrey Benadryl to stop the swelling, and the other told us about the plant that happened to be right beside us. I chewed it up and spit it on Audrey’s sting. I felt like a mama bird. Hehe.Hee Hee or heh heh.

We thanked them and went on our merry way, following the trail. We got to the middle of it, and saw a sign that said “WARNING: WASPS NEST”. We sprinted back down the path. You see, the path was a loop. So, we went around the other way, panting. We jogged back down the loop the way we had come and I thought I saw my dad’s shorts. I screamed “Dad!”. Well, that was a mistake, because when I rounded the bend, I realized the shorts were on a teenager. That was embarrassing. I looked at the ground and mumbled “sorry”. I looked up just in time to see him grinning as we walked past, which made me blush harder.

We went another full loop, asking everybody we passed if they had seen a man carrying a baby on his chest, our father. They all said no. I decided we’d go to the ranger station until they came to find us.

We trudged down past the pond, and there they were! We laughed with joy and embraced them. We had been on our way to the ranger station.

They rolled their eyes, saying that we had been gone only 20 minutes. I shrugged sheepishly. That means we made good time running the trail, I guess. They filled us in about what had happened while we were gone. My stepmother had been attacked by a weasel! It jumped out of the bushes at her and tried to attack her feet. I was sad that I missed it!

The Our parents told us that, before we had left for the pond, they had before they were going to finish the hike and meet us at the pond. All of us swore we hadn’t heard it. In all, the hike probably lasted 35 minutes. 7 hours of driving for 35 minutes of impetuous searching and running from bees. Well, at least we got a squirrel puppet for the baby and an adventurous story to tell!

All-in-all, I think my summer was pretty enjoyable. Now, almost exactly a week from the start of school, I feel like my hunger for summer days has been fulfilled. I’m ready to get back to work. I wonder what adventures await in freshman year? I can’t wait to find out!
Very detailed and complete descriptions of the events that took place. Interesting story.



Don’t make a negative statement like this about your story. The reader has not even read it yet, and may love it. Let the reader decide his/her opinion after they read it.








































When describing hours in a story, be consistent. Either spell out the hour (ex. Four, seven) or use the actual number (ex. 4, 7). Here you used both (four and 7).


















Explain what “being Nora” means about her personality or leave it out; the reader does not know anything about Nora except she is the author’s younger sister.







Did it sting her or did she brush it off?























Crossed out; unnecessary details.













Very funny.




Repetitive – you already stated this in the previous paragraph.







Why were you sad you missed it?















“…I feel like my hunger for summer days has been fulfilled.” Nice use of language.
Marianna Alfaro’s Story Mr. George Smith’s Feedback for Marianna Alfaro’s Story
Every summer, my family and I always have a blast during vacation. And no trips to Disneyland or Knott’s Berry Farm will make this those vacations the best I’ve ever had, because this summer has it’s already been the best. This story has I have so much to tell you about this summer’s vacation, and you will like this story (or at least take the time to read it). But, So without further ado, grab a chair, some snacks, and a drink, and let my story begin.

Every summer, it’s a must that my sisters and I do something called Mama’s Summer School. My Mama started this a few years ago to get us ready for the next grade. We learn new things every year. This year, Mama couldn’t really find a book for eighth graders. -but this one. So we stuck with your 7th-8th Summer Learning Headstart. The book and your website were amazing, teaching you me new topics, or perhaps reviewing them. topics taught last year.

However, there is one thing I would change, and that’s the number of mistakes in this book. Did your editor(s) think that nobody would notice? Sorry to burst your bubble, but I noticed. There are missing periods, a pair of missing quotation marks, and (most noticeably) stuck-together (known as run-on) sentences. One of those sentences is, My family and I are really big on grammar, spelling, and punctuation, so we will notice all of the mistakes. Please fix the mistakes so future 8th graders don’t flunk their classes with those mistakes. Thank you for reading about what I noticed.

Going forward, I learned how to swim this summer (2019)! You might be questioning this, saying that why I had not should have already learned that. Well, our pool is not the cleanest, so we don’t go there often. This year, though, we decided to give it a try. At the pool, as I watched a boy swim to the deep end, I thought, I can do that…maybe.So I tried it out, and it worked! I perfected the doggy paddle, and went all the way to the deep end and back. I almost drowned a few times, but my Dada was there to save me. With that practice came my swimming success.

As I sit here, writing these words, I’m thinking of thanking you for this opportunity to write out my experiences of this summer. I believe that not only does it improve my writing skills, but it tells me what my feelings were in the summertime. Again, thank you for this contest, and (since you’re reviewing this in September) have a great rest of your year.
This story is very descriptive and interesting. And it gives credit to Lumos for the benefits she gained from using a Lumos publication. Also, it illustrates useful activities a student can perform to get them ready for the next grade level.

























“One of those sentences is…” Did you forget to include an example? Either add an example or delete the phrase.
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George Smith