Creating Learning Traditions

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The long summer holiday break is a great time to develop some new family traditions that will have the added bonus of strengthening your children’s literacy skills.


  • Help your children write letters or thank you cards to everyone that gave them a present. Encourage your children to explain what they liked best about the present and how they plan to use it.
  • Every day or once a week, write gratefulness notes and add them to your family’s ‘Gratefulness Jar’
  • Using a traditional or favourite song or poem, together as a family, change the words to make it relevant to your family (see below for some examples).
  • Ask your children to add items to your shopping list.
  • Start a family joke book collection.
  • Use the holidays to teach your child to touch type. Set aside time each day to practise. Place a tea towel over your children’s hands so they are not tempted to look at their fingers.
  • Give every children a good quality notebook and have them collect sayings, short poems, wise sayings and signatures. Perhaps you remember some of these from your own childhood! Help your children search the internet for interesting quotes to add or even better to modify and make their own.
2 ys u r
2 ys u b
2 ys u r
2 ys 4 me.
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Sugar is sweet,
And so are you
By hook or by crook
I’ll be first in this book
By hook or by crook
I’ll be last in this book
True friends like diamonds,
Are precious and rare;
False ones, like autumn leaves,
Are found everywhere.
Friends come and go like the waves of an ocean, but the true ones stay like an octopus on your face. 2 cute
2 B
4 gotten


  • Listen to audio books, especially when travelling long distances.
  • Read and sing songs together.
  • Find podcasts that might be of interest to your children. Listen to them together and discuss.
  • Next time your children visit their grandparents or a relative, have them think about something they would like to know about that person. You might like to warn the person about the question, so they have time to think about their response.


  • Give each child responsibility for planning and cooking a meal one day each week. Help them find appropriate recipes, write the shopping list and purchase the required items.
  • EVERY day set aside time just for reading. This might be all reading your own book or it could be you (or one of your children) reading a book to everyone else. If you are travelling, instead of listening to an audio book, your children could take it in turns to read a chapter.
  • Buy some comic books and have an afternoon reading and sharing the comics.
  • Help your children select (or buy) a craft book and together make items from the book. Alternatively, you can find instructions for something they would like making from the internet.
  • Go to the local library each week and let your children choose books to bring home.
  • Go to the museum or zoo and help your children read the information plaques.
  • Catch public transport to an agreed upon destination. Show your children how to locate the timetable and then to read the timetable.


  • Buy some alphabet fridge magnets. Every day, use the magnetic letters to make an interesting word. Have a competition to see who can use the word the most times during the day.
  • Start a story-telling tradition. Make it special by having particular food and drinks available. Perhaps you could do it outside under the stars. The story-telling could be based on:
    – Old family photographs
    – A particular story prompt (most embarrassing event, most interesting holiday, most treasured success, funniest event, worst experience ever…)
  • At meal times, pose a topic for discussion. It could be something topical from the news or relevant to your family or just a question that doesn’t have a simple answer.


  • Set aside time each day for playing games – perhaps after lunch or before bed.
  • Play games that require your children to read instructions or require them to speak (for example Articulate).
  • Play word games like Hangman, Scrabble or Boggle. Together create interesting modifications to the games. For example, you can use the Scrabble tiles to play ‘Take Two’. Everyone takes 7 tiles and uses the tiles to create their own mini-puzzle. You can pick up and change the position of the tiles as many times as you like. Once one person has used all the tiles (or if no-one can use all the tiles), everyone has to take two more tiles. You can score everyone’s game at the end, but I preferred to ask my children to select their most interesting word and/or to try to make a story using as many of their words as possible.
  • As a family do crossword puzzles together. Keep the crossword puzzle open and do at different times during the day.
  • Play some of the free online word games together.


The Quartermaster’s Song

There were snakes, snakes, (There was Gran, Gran)
Big as garden rakes, (Who is my greatest fan)
In the store, in the store. (In the store, in the store)
There were snakes, snakes (There was Gran, Gran)
Big as garden rakes, (Everyone knows she can)
In the Quartermaster’s store (In the Quartermaster’s store)

My eyes are dim I cannot see.
I have not brought my specs with me.
I have not brought my specs with me.

The Wheels on the Bus

The wheels on the bus go round and round (The wheels on the car go round and round)
Round and round, round and round (Round and round, round and round)
The wheels on the bus go round and round (The wheels on the car go round and round)
All the way to town (All the way to … of destination)

The babies on the bus says “Wah, wah, wah, (John in the back seat bounced up and down)
Wah, wah, wah, (up and down)
Wah, wah, wah”.(up and down)
The babies on the bus says “Wah, wah, wah”, (John in the back seat bounced up and down)
all the way to town. (All the way to … of destination)

Mary sang songs, lah, lah, lah
Lah, lah, lah,
Lah, lah, lah
Mary sang songs, lah, lah, lah
All the way to…

Mum in the front seat said, “Please don’t fight,
Please don’t fight, please don’t fight.
Mum is the front seat said, “Please don’t fight,”
All the way to ….