Summer — Time to Write!

For both students and teachers, summer is a much needed break from the pressures of the school year. But by the start of August, when things start to drag a little, summer can also be the perfect time to write.

Low Demands, Big Rewards

The beauty of writing in the summer is that it doesn’t need to be complicated. You don’t have to meet a list of 20 criteria to achieve an “A.” Instead, you’re free to write for reasons that make sense only to you, about topics you enjoy, for as little (or as much) time as you choose.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Calling All Campers!

Whether you’re a first-time camper or CIT, your family will appreciate news from camp. Camp letters often become family “classics” due to their honesty and raw descriptive detail.

  • Research the communication requirements for your camp.
  • If the camp uses an online communication system, set up access for each family member. For a remote camp that relies on “snail mail,” prepare stamped, pre-addressed envelopes and writing paper for physical letters.
  • Take time out during your camp week to write!
  • Speak from the heart. Don’t worry about correct spelling or punctuation.
  • Describe a typical camp day. List camp stats. Report on special events like dances. And don’t forget to write about the camp food!

Are You an Event Planner?

Effective event planners need to be excellent communicators. Whether it’s a pool party, game night, or big family celebration, writing skills are important for successful planning.

  • Research options for theme, location, games, food, etc.
  • Make email inquiries and phone calls to get more information.
  • Take notes and work with co-planners to finalize plans.
  • Make a shopping list and TBD List to track preparations.
  • Create an invitation with directions to the location and tips on what to wear or bring.
  • After the event, follow up with Thank You messages for gifts or organizational help.

Who's the Top Chef?

Food that seems delicious in the winter can be too hot or filling for the summer. Why not figure out some lighter food and snacks for warm weather?

  • Search for recipes online or in cookbooks.
  • Notice the standard recipe format, which typically includes a title, introduction, ingredient list, and step-by-step instructions.
  • Select a recipe, write a shopping list, and buy the ingredients.
  • While testing the recipe, take notes on ingredients, techniques, and serving suggestions for next time.
  • Get friends or family to tell you about their old family favorites. Write the recipes in standard recipe format, and share online.

Become the Family Trip Organizer!

If you’re taking a big family trip, you might discover that you’re the only one ready to take on the role of trip planner. Writing can also help with a group planning process.

  • Find out what the destination(s) and budget will be for the trip.
  • Create an online spreadsheet for travel plans. Organize planning information using headings (such as Activity, Description, Links).
  • Start researching and taking notes on trip options. For example, search for transportation, restaurants, events, tourist attractions, historic monuments, cultural happenings–whatever you or your family might enjoy that’s within budget.
  • Share your research with your fellow travelers (aka the family) and invite them to contribute their own travel ideas and opinions.
  • Use the communal planning document to debate options, create a tentative travel schedule, or figure out a “Plan B” if something doesn’t work out.

Wanted: Reviewers and Critics!

There are online sites for sharing reviews of almost everything. When you share your experiences, you help the next online visitors evaluate their options.

  • Go to Yelp to review a restaurant, a local water park or pool, a store, service, etc.
  • If you buy something online, review the product on the seller’s site.
  • If you’ve read a good book, share your opinion on GoodReads. If you’ve read a terrible book, share that too!
  • If you take a trip, use sites like Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz or Instagram to review your destination, hotels, activities, restaurants, etc.

Note: For students under 18, be sure to get parental assistance setting up safe online account access.

Just Write...

Summer is a perfect time to simply jot down your thoughts, ideas, observations, or plans. You can have a group writing session with friends or family. Or dedicate time to your own private musings.

  • Group Writing: Do a quick session of freeform writing with friends or family. Let your fellow writers suggest a general topic (like “summer” or “trips”). Set a timer for 3-20 minutes of writing time (depending on age and skill level). Then start writing! The goal is to keep the pen (or keyboard) active the entire time. Whatever’s in your head, write it down. When the time is up, read your work aloud and respond to each other’s ideas. (No corrections–it’s summer!)
  • Private Writing: Buy yourself a journal, or set one up online. Write a brief entry on a daily or weekly basis. The choice of topics is up to you. Some day in the future, you’ll come across your journal and enjoy remembering The Summer of 2019.

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