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May 14, 2015

Family Journals as Engagement Tools

By Kriscia Cabral
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    Every year I struggle with what to get my students as an end-of-the-year gift. This year I plan to take the feedback given to me by parents and use it to craft the perfect gift. (Well, at least it’s a perfect gift in my eyes!)

    ‪Almost every conference I’ve had this year with parents has been focused on, “How do I get my child to read more? How do I get my child to write more?” I offer strategies starting with how reading is everywhere, but also tell them that, "The love of reading and writing comes from a connection that your child has. This connection could be related to a number of things. You really need to find a hook and grab on tightly.”‬ 

    My teaching partner came up with such a wonderful idea; I used it with my 6-year-old son and had amazing results. If you have parents who are wondering how to keep their kids engaged in reading, writing, and math over the summer, share this strategy! Here's the idea to share with your students' parents:

    ‪Start a journal writing process with your child. Explain to your child that the journal conversations are between the two or three of you, and that anything that is discussed in the journal is not discussed outside of the journal. As a parent, you can write about your day and ask your child about their day. You can have a dialogue about books you read together or math situations that come up at work. To make it more enticing, surprise your child every now and then with movie tickets, game tickets, or any other exciting opportunities you can share via written word.‬

    ‪The journal is a form of communication between you and your child. The conversation and connections are what will get your child excited about writing to you. I think a big piece of the excitement is your child seeing you as a person who could possibly have issues that you “need” help with. They want to write about ways they can help. They also want to have conversations about things that interest them. Use this journal to find out what those things are. ÃƒÂ¢Ã‚€Â¬

    ‪To get this message home to parents, I plan to send this letter via email. I want parents to realize that this journal is not a place for them to analyze their child’s writing. It is not a place to correct spelling, punctuation, or grammar. It is a place to build a bond with their child. A place to have a relationship based on writing. I encourage them to enjoy it and treasure the creation they will make together.‬

    ‪I will send each student home with a journal at the end of the year with a message on the inside. The message will be similar to the one that I send to parents, except it will highlight the opportunity to share their thoughts and “JUST WRITE.”

    ‪A couple of places I’ve looked into for bulk notebook purchases are:‬

    Scholastic's Teacher Store offers journals for less than $3.00 each. Office Depot has versions for $0.99, and Bare Books offers a blank hard cover book with lines for $2.55.

     

    As a parent, I had to try the journal idea with my son. He’s hooked! We write back and forth almost every day. Our conversation is around everything he can think of. We "talk" about what is going on in his day and whatever book we read aloud before bed. I love how excited he is about writing and his eagerness to return the notebook to me. It’s been quite thrilling to share that special bond with him.‬

    ‪

    What ideas are floating around in your head for the end of the year? I’d love to hear more!‬

    ‪Please share below in the comments.‬

    ‪Thank you for reading.‬

    ‪Smiles,‬

    ‪Kriscia‬

    Every year I struggle with what to get my students as an end-of-the-year gift. This year I plan to take the feedback given to me by parents and use it to craft the perfect gift. (Well, at least it’s a perfect gift in my eyes!)

    ‪Almost every conference I’ve had this year with parents has been focused on, “How do I get my child to read more? How do I get my child to write more?” I offer strategies starting with how reading is everywhere, but also tell them that, "The love of reading and writing comes from a connection that your child has. This connection could be related to a number of things. You really need to find a hook and grab on tightly.”‬ 

    My teaching partner came up with such a wonderful idea; I used it with my 6-year-old son and had amazing results. If you have parents who are wondering how to keep their kids engaged in reading, writing, and math over the summer, share this strategy! Here's the idea to share with your students' parents:

    ‪Start a journal writing process with your child. Explain to your child that the journal conversations are between the two or three of you, and that anything that is discussed in the journal is not discussed outside of the journal. As a parent, you can write about your day and ask your child about their day. You can have a dialogue about books you read together or math situations that come up at work. To make it more enticing, surprise your child every now and then with movie tickets, game tickets, or any other exciting opportunities you can share via written word.‬

    ‪The journal is a form of communication between you and your child. The conversation and connections are what will get your child excited about writing to you. I think a big piece of the excitement is your child seeing you as a person who could possibly have issues that you “need” help with. They want to write about ways they can help. They also want to have conversations about things that interest them. Use this journal to find out what those things are. ÃƒÂ¢Ã‚€Â¬

    ‪To get this message home to parents, I plan to send this letter via email. I want parents to realize that this journal is not a place for them to analyze their child’s writing. It is not a place to correct spelling, punctuation, or grammar. It is a place to build a bond with their child. A place to have a relationship based on writing. I encourage them to enjoy it and treasure the creation they will make together.‬

    ‪I will send each student home with a journal at the end of the year with a message on the inside. The message will be similar to the one that I send to parents, except it will highlight the opportunity to share their thoughts and “JUST WRITE.”

    ‪A couple of places I’ve looked into for bulk notebook purchases are:‬

    Scholastic's Teacher Store offers journals for less than $3.00 each. Office Depot has versions for $0.99, and Bare Books offers a blank hard cover book with lines for $2.55.

     

    As a parent, I had to try the journal idea with my son. He’s hooked! We write back and forth almost every day. Our conversation is around everything he can think of. We "talk" about what is going on in his day and whatever book we read aloud before bed. I love how excited he is about writing and his eagerness to return the notebook to me. It’s been quite thrilling to share that special bond with him.‬

    ‪

    What ideas are floating around in your head for the end of the year? I’d love to hear more!‬

    ‪Please share below in the comments.‬

    ‪Thank you for reading.‬

    ‪Smiles,‬

    ‪Kriscia‬

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