Never Too Young To Journal

Several years ago, I started reading books by author, Jan Karon (mitfordbooks.com).  I started with At Home in Mitford (published in 1994), the first in her series of fourteen, where I was introduced to Father Tim, his family, and the other enjoyable characters of Mitford. I was immediately hooked and started reading more in the series. My mother-in-law, an avid reader, enjoys Ms. Karon’s books, too, and as we talked about the series she shared her unique way of keeping track of ALL the books she reads.

For twenty-five years, she has kept a log of her reads in a now-tattered notebook. Under an author’s name, she records the title of the book and the date she reads it. This treasured journal is filled with hundreds of book titles.

In our story, Remy’s constant companion is her journal. Coincidence? We’ll soon find out.

In the meantime, someone you know might want to begin journaling. Following are a few ways to encourage journaling and why it’s a useful practice:

  • Early literacy activities (dramatic play, music/finger plays/nursery rhymes, books/audio books, engaging conversation, art/drawing/writing, print-rich environments*) motivate children to try to READ and WRITE.
  • Beginning readers and writers can draw pictures in a journal to represent their thoughts and feelings. Draw shapes and pictures in a journal (expressing themselves in symbolic ways) and verbalize their thoughts to someone who can write the words (modeling writing and reading).
  • Encourage young readers to start a journal of the books they read.  Record books by the author, or record the dates the book is read. Add a sentence about why they liked the book or list the characters or record the moral of the story (the possibilities are endless).

*There is no need to postpone children’s functional writing until they know the alphabet letters since many children develop strong writing skills simply through exposure to a print-rich environment (Schickedanz, J. A. (1998). What is developmentally appropriate practice in early literacy? Consider the alphabet. In S. B. Neuman & K. A. Roskos (eds.), Children achieveing: Best practices in early literacy (pp.20-37). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

A print-rich environment is one in which children interact and explore many forms of printed materials (books, labels, signs, etc.) which allows them to see that reading and writing serve real, everyday purposes. Adults using printed materials model to children that print carries meaning. Abraham, C. (2003) Literacy – Creating a print-rich environment(p. 1)Texas Child Care Quarterly (Fall 2003)

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