Summer Learning Ideas

The 3 month long summer holiday is too long a break for English language learners. Parents and families are the first and most important teachers. Educational research has made it clear that parents who are actively involved in their children’s learning at home help their children become more successful learners in and out of school.

Here are some home learning activities that you can do so as not to forget and to improve skills.Take a little time to do a lot of good!

Read together
Before bed or during midday when it is unsafe to be outside in the sun, you can read together either by taking roles, or you read a page then they read a page. They should reread all their school story books, comic books and magazines are good too.

Here are some suggestions:

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate Dicamillo
A story in a fairy-tale setting about a mouse who falls in love with the princess of the castle he lives in.  Contains a lot of story-book romance and adventure.  There is some sophisticated language but the writer stops to explain difficult words and concepts. Many students have seen the movie.

Redwall by Brian Jacques
Rather long books, but gobbled up by young kids. A medieval European novel of knights and ladies, but with rabbits, rats, mice, voles, and all sorts of forest animals. There is a long series of “Redwall” books, so Redwall can actually encourage kids to get into reading long books.

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
A classic, award-winning survival story about a 12 year old girl left alone on an island.  She must learn to survive on her own, and does so for eighteen years.  She learns strength and serenity.  A strong female protagonist, but the book often appeals to boys as well.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Recently made into a movie.  Neil Gaiman is one of the best of the living writers and graphic novelists, and in this book a little bit like a darker Roald Dahl.  In it, a young girl who is a little bored, lonely, and sensitive begins to explore the new home she’s moved into. However, sometimes the doors there lead into a strange world which is similar to her own and, at first glance, better, but startling, dark, and strange the more she is there.

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
A story about a rather amazing boy who can beat everyone at racing and sports. He confronts racism in a small town.  Framed as a folktale, very good storytelling.

The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
A story about a country-side cricket playing strangely beautiful music in New York City, and his friends, a city-mouse, and a very calm, collected cat.  Simple plot, loveable characters, and not all that “fantastical” despite being set with animal characters.

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney (a series)
Kinney was an unsuccessful cartoonist who turned out to have a talent for writing about the trials of an average kid in middle school. Funny, with realistic dialogue and good language.

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (poetry)
The most renowned, famous, and excellent collection of children’s poetry by a man who understood both children and poetry intuitively. Fun, entertaining, and not too challenging, and an excellent introduction to English language poetry.

Watch TV together
National Geographic and BBC Prime have many programs for kids related to social studies, geography, health and science that can be switched to English. Check the website and plan when to watch which show. Then, discuss it together. Even a few facts and opinions are good. Or, if there isn’t an English speaker at home, have your child translate what he understood.
Disney Channel is good too but turn off the Turkish subtitles or cover them with paper.

Brunch English
Make weekend breakfast an opportunity to use only English. It sounds simple but it works. e.g. What do you want to eat for breakfast? Can you pass me the juice? etc…

Martha Stewart’s Recipes

Go to her website for fool-proof recipes. Cook something together with your kids. Apple pies, sandwiches, and smoothies. Kid favorites too.


Learn the lyrics to some songs and sing together.


There are some great games you can buy on-line. Cranium Cadoo is an excellent one! Scrabble, Tabu, etc.

Ideas our students came up with:
We can speak English with our friends and parents. Either on the phone or msn.
We can go to an English camp.
We can reread our English story books.
We can work with our friends and read together, ask questions to each other.
We can go to an English speaking country.
We can find a pen pal.
We can watch films.
We can email our English teachers.
We can go to places where there are tourists and speak English with them.
We can send SMS in English to our friends.

Why don’t you give some advice to Laura?

Hi! I am Laura. I’m not very happy these days. I am always late for the service bus in the morning and they usually have to wait for me. The other students on the bus get angry and complain. Sometimes I forget to bring my homework and my teacher gets angry. I’m often sleepy for the first two lessons. All I can think about is food because I never have time to eat breakfast at home. I have trouble paying attention to the lesson because my friends are always talking to me.

What should I do?


Your weekend assignment

You were asking when we would use our Extra Practice Books. Let’s start by reading the story in it. (The Sing-Song Tale of Old Man Kangaroo by Rudyard Kipling)

Pull the story out and fold the cover. Then cut the fold at the top to make the book. If you want to, staple the pages together.

Read the story and write a short summary in your notebooks. 5-7 sentences would be enough..


Let’s learn more about Roald Dahl!

Children of all ages read and enjoy books by Roald Dahl. You have read two of his books: ‘Fantastic Mr Fox‘ and ‘The Witches‘.  It is time to learn more about him. Click the link below and go to ‘The World of Roald Dahl’. Take a tour around the web site and find three facts about him. I’m looking forward to seeing your comments!

The World of Roald Dahl

You can also find some information about him on the web site created by fans of Roald Dahl:

Roald Dahl