How Your Child’s Journal Can Become his Best Friend

Years of international in-depth research show clearly that children are more likely to succeed in learning when their families actively support them. When you and other family members read with or to your children, help them with homework or educational activities, talk with their educators or co-homeschoolers, and participate in school, homeschool or other learning activities, you give your children a tremendous advantage and a firm foundation and basis for learning.

Other than helping your child or children to grow up healthy and happy, the most important thing that you can do for them is to help them develop their reading and writing skills. It is no exaggeration to say that how well children learn to read affects directly not only how successful they are in their educational activities, but how well they do throughout their lives. When children learn to read, they have the key that opens the door to all the knowledge of the world. Without this key, many children are left behind. The foundation for learning to read is in place long before children enter the formal school arena and begin formal reading instruction.

You, as a parent, together with your family, help to create this foundation by talking, listening, and reading to your children every day and by showing them that you value, use, and enjoy reading in your lives. Participating in family-oriented activities and conversations subtly reinforces this foundation.

Most of the activities that make learning experiences out of the everyday routines in which you participate with your children use materials that are found in your home or that can be had free-of-charge from the local library. You design the activities to be fun for both you and your children as you help them to gain the skills they need to become readers and develop into independent little people. These activities often find their way into a child’s journal, either by way of scribbles, writing or pasting or drawing pictures.

I have designed a journal with my own children in mind, knowing that in time with continued journal use, they will begin to plan their activities, vent their feeling and frustrations, note their own achievements, and diarise their happiness, hopes and dreams.

It is vitally important to stress that a journal is your child’s personal and private document and should be treated as such. It should be a place where your child can just “be”. A child should not be forced to show or display his or her journal. If he or she chooses to display her “work” that is entirely up to the child, but at all times he or she must be absolutely confident that this is his or her “space”. There is a level of “trust” between a person and their journal, even amongst adults. This trust should never be compromised or broken.

At the end of the journal or school year, whichever applies to you or your family, if your child chooses to display the journal, you will without a doubt immediately glean information regarding their interests, concerns, abilities, identify possibly areas of conflict. Most of all you will see how your precious child has developed as an individual in their thoughts, actions, reading and writing.

The journals, which I have made for boys and girls (imagine your son’s face when he gets a journal with flowers and fairies yeeeuuuckkk!) will be uploaded in the first week of the New Year. I will post the links shortly.

This article is (c) Donnette E Davis 2007 and awaiting live publication. Please do not copy. Thank you.

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