Thursday, January 28, 2010

Is Your Preschooler Keeping a Journal?

     Did you know having your child dictate journal entries or stories to you is an excellent way to teach her important literacy skills?  Writing what your child is thinking is a great way to build self-awareness, express feelings and helps you find out what she is thinking.  This is easy to do once you get into the habit.  Keep a notebook or clipboard handy and ask your child to tell you what she wants you to write.  At first it's hard to get her thinking in terms of something to say, but with practice, it will come easier.

  • It can be a sort of diary about what she did that say or what she wants to do another day.  ("We saw a red bird today.  It landed right in front of us."  or "Today I shopped for shoes.")
  • It can be what he's thinking about on any topic.  ("Joey has a big dog, but he doesn't have fish.  I think a dog is more fun.")
  • It can be what she's feeling that she may not have had a chance to express; any emotion at all is acceptable.  (I really don't like it when I have to make my bed!")
  • It can also be a story that he made up.
Whatever it is, you write it exactly as she says it.  Make sure she knows you are writing what she says.  Date it and put it in the same place every time, where it's easy to find.

This helps to develop the understanding that words we say translate into letters on the paper.  Then other people can read what we are saying.

Occasionally, take out all the dictation and read them to him  He will be proud of his "writings" and he will get even more ideas of what he wants to say next time.

Source:  Bev Bos, nationally-recognized expert on Early Childhood Education,

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