The days are getting brighter, the evenings are getting longer and the topic on every teacher’s mind is the summer-long learning gap. One way to reduce that gap is for students to keep learning over the summer by integrating educational activities into their usual day-to-day summer activities.

Most of the time, sending home lesson plans with your students over summer vacation is too much effort for minimal returns. However, you can set your students up for better success by getting them used to daily writing activities that some of them might enjoy enough to continue, even in their off time.

If you’ve already given your students the foundation of regular writing exercises that practice different types of writing, maybe all they’ll need is encouragement and the knowledge that they can choose to write any time they want!

While implementing the following fun summer writing prompts we’ve collected to help you close out the year, educate students on how to use the skills they’re learning in class in real life. These prompts are also perfect if you teach summer school classes!

Persuasive Writing

Why Persuasive Writing Is Important

There are many times in our academic and professional careers (and in other important aspects of our lives) when it’s helpful to be able to present opinions and advocate for solutions in rational rather than purely emotional ways.

Persuasive writing helps develop your students’ abilities to back up their opinions with evidence, anticipate and address counterarguments and summarize their viewpoint in a way that’s both simple to understand and compelling for their readers. As students learn how to craft effective persuasive writing of their own, they’ll also learn how effective it can be in communicating their opinions.

It’s important to fact-check both their own sources of information and any sources cited by others, especially when the intention is to change their minds about an important topic.

Persuasive Writing Summer Writing Prompts

  • Would you rather go swimming at a beach or a swimming pool? Why?
  • Which is the better summer barbeque food: hamburgers or hotdogs? Why?
  • Is summer your favorite season? Why or why not? How does it compare to the other seasons of the year?
  • Would you rather spend a summer day going on an adventure or staying at home? Why do you prefer one over the other?
  • What’s the best way to spend a summer day?

Persuasive Writing Skills in Real Life

  • When you see an opinion and you disagree with it, do some research and try to understand why another person might have a different opinion than the one you have. (The point isn’t to change your mind; it’s to understand why someone else might have reached a different conclusion.)
  • If you want to convince your parents to agree with you about something, make sure you have evidence-based reasons for your opinion.
  • When you want someone to agree with your opinion, make sure to anticipate and plan for several counterarguments in advance. This improves your persuasive abilities by proactively defending your argument.

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Why Mindfulness Is Important

In our technologically connected world, people are often expected to exist in more places at once. We’re going about our days, maybe teaching in an elementary school classroom, while also maintaining dozens of emails and text conversations that can update and demand our attention at any time. It’s no wonder people often seem distracted or unfocused—and our students are no exception.

girl-smelling-flowerEngaging in simple mindfulness practices is becoming a bare minimum skill for maintaining better mental health practices, especially when considering all the entertainment and social media vying for our students’ attention.

As communications technology becomes more deeply integrated into our lives, it will become even more critical for young learners to have the mental tools to cope with their limited attention resources by redirecting their focus to where it needs to be. The prompts below allow students to practice mindfulness in a guided way, using it as a way to focus more presently on details that might otherwise go ignored.

In addition to helping students become more focused on their present, mindfulness is also a powerful tool for exploring the past. Viewing a memory through a lens of mindfulness allows students to evaluate their past thoughts and actions without removing the emotional context in which they acted.

Furthermore, it’s an even more helpful tool for planning for the future. Imagining a potential future event through a lens of mindfulness allows students to more fully inhabit the future they want to live in, which becomes powerful motivation to work towards achieving that future.

Mindfulness Summer Writing Prompts

  • Go for a walk. Think about the differences between summer and the other seasons. Describe summer using each of your five senses: What does summer look like? What are the sounds of summer? The tastes and smells? What does summer feel like?
  • Write about the different phases of summer vacation. What happens during the beginning, middle and end of summer? What do you like about each part of the summer and which part is your favorite?
  • Imagine your favorite summer treat. Describe it in as much detail as you can without revealing the name of the treat. Try to make it clear to the reader what the treat is without naming it.
  • Think about how time moves during the summer compared to the school year. Why do you think you feel time differently during different activities?
  • How do you feel when summer is getting closer? How about when it’s almost over? Why do you think you feel these ways?

Mindfulness Skills in Real Life

  • If you feel upset or overwhelmed, try a mindfulness activity to refocus and calm down.
  • Start or end your day with a body scan or a simple breathing exercise.
  • When you have trouble staying focused on the present moment, try focusing on one thing at a time until you feel less distracted and more focused.

girl-doing-homeworkCreative Writing

Why Creative Writing Is Important

Beyond the obvious benefits of exercising their creativity and using their imaginations, creative writing is also an opportunity for young learners to improve their other writing skills. Spelling, grammar, penmanship and most other writing skills can benefit from repeated practice in ways similar to how they will use those skills in real life.

Students proficient at creative writing tend to display creativity in their general problem-solving methods. Those who choose to engage in creative writing activities often display higher levels of empathy and self-awareness.

The prompts below give students an opportunity to explore figurative language, like symbolism and metaphor, as well as engage their thought processes by playing out a scenario using logic, reason, theory of mind and empathy.

Creative Writing Summer Writing Prompts

  • Picture the best summer day you can imagine, from start to finish. What happens? (Be sure to include as much detail as you can!)
  • If summer was a person, what type of personality would they have? What would they like to do? Would you get along with each other?
  • What if summer never ended? What would happen to the world during a never-ending summer? What would people do?
  • Write a poem about summer and the way it makes you feel.
  • Imagine a summer where it snows every day. What would happen? How would people react to the unexpected weather?

Creative Writing Skills in Real Life

  • Write your own ending if you’re not happy with how a book or movie ended.
  • If there’s a book you want to read but it doesn’t exist yet, write it yourself.
  • If you’re bored, write a story.

End of Year Class Project

A great way to wrap up the year in the spirit of collaborative play is to have the entire class contribute towards an end-of-year project—and it’s hard to find a more satisfying class project than creating a classbook with one of our free classbook publishing kits.

Lead a discussion with your students about whether they’d like to become published authors in time for summer vacation. This is a short time frame, so it will take full participation from everyone. Our start-to-finish project support and reminders will help you make it happen!

Decide with your class on a topic and start collecting or creating the art and words that they will include. Don’t forget to plan some time for brainstorming the title and cover, and you’re on your way!


Goal Setting

Why Goal Setting Is Important

Goal setting is crucial for carrying out ordinary executive function skills, including time management and prioritization. Of course, when we’re talking about elementary school students, we’re just getting started with all of that!

At this point in your students’ development, they’re beginning to understand their agency and autonomy more fully, along with the realization that they can complete tasks without a need for adult oversight.

This new sense of independence makes it an ideal time to teach students how to set their own goals, break their large goals down into more manageable ones and complete the smaller steps in the most logical order. Celebrating the completion of their goals is important to building their confidence.

The prompts below help students determine what changes they can make to themselves and their environment. They will introduce them to the idea of making lists as a way to set goals, as well as identifying what changes are specific, measurable and within their abilities to complete.

Goal Setting Summer Writing Prompts

  • Does your family have different rules or follow a different routine during the summer? What changes and what stays the same? How does this make it easier or harder to meet your goals?
  • What’s one thing you can do this summer to set yourself up to be a more successful student next fall? How will this help you improve?
  • What’s one thing you can commit to this summer to make yourself a better person? How will this help you improve yourself or improve things for others?
  • Do you spend any time studying over the summer? Why or why not?
  • What are three things you want to accomplish over the summer? What steps will you take to meet your goals?

Goal Setting Skills in Real Life

  • Set a goal to complete by the end of summer or weekly goals to achieve during vacation.
  • Set an academic goal to complete over the summer.
  • Practice setting up smaller step goals to achieve a larger goal.

These 20 summer writing prompts will help your students close out the year in a way that keeps their developing skills top of mind as they head out into their summer vacation and the new academic year beyond.

With your encouragement and gentle guidance, there’s a good chance your students will continue their education in a more leisurely, self-paced series of ad hoc lessons they choose to pursue on their own.

Whether your students decide to turn their creative writing ambitions into a novel or script or take up journaling as a way to work through their thoughts and feelings, there’s no better way to set them on their future paths than by joining in on the end of year excitement and celebrating the start of summer.

For more lesson plans, worksheets and other helpful creative writing resources for your classroom, check out our online Teacher’s Lounge and be sure to sign up for your free classbook publishing kit!