My daughter was always a reluctant writer and had no interest in any worksheets. Now, when she is in second grade, her fine motor skills caught up with the hard work required in writing, and she is more willing to stay with her writing for longer. I decided to take advantage of this change and introduce joint journaling to her with an Advent Journal.
Step 1: Make It Special
I introduced the concept of a joint journal to Smarty before Thanksgiving to give her time to think about it. We used a plain 100 sheet college notebook and both of us decorated our cover. Smarty had a lot of ideas about what she wanted to put on the cover, and I had her sketch it first, because I could see that she cannot fit her lofty vision on one sheet of paper. She went all out with stickers and markers, and managed to squeeze most of her desired elements in, and she even managed to incorporate some of mine.
Step 2: Set Aside Time to Write and Read
This has proved difficult the first week of December as this was a week of rehearsals and performances for Smarty’s theater production. Still, we tried to set time every evening after dinner for her writing time. This is not a bad time for us, since Smarty is pleasantly full and also has an excuse to stall before starting her bath routine. I wrote my entry while she was in the bath, and then we read our entries as part of our evening reading ritual.
Step 3: Agree on the Rules
We agreed that we will alternate topic selection each day and that we should make an effort to write a page. Writing a page was Smarty’s suggestion, and it surprised me, since only recently we were fighting over writing 3 sentences. She also asked me to correct her spelling or punctuation (I haven’t had a chance to correct this particular page when I took a picture), because she becomes a lot more aware of her own misspellings and wants to improve.
Step 4: Be Flexible
Even though we wanted to journal every day, we didn’t manage that with all other Christmas obligations. The good news is that we didn’t abandon it. I am hoping that I will manage to convince Smarty to start another joint journal for 2014 – this would be such a terrific memory to keep for when she is a young woman and doesn’t want to journal with Mama any longer.
- This Reading Mama has terrific printables including fun writing monthly writing prompts
- This Reading Mama and The Measured Mom partnered together to create an excellent series of Simple Writing Lessons for Primary Grades
- The Teachers Corner has free writing prompts for every day of the year based on the events that happened on that day.
Did you try journal writing for your kids or with your kids? How did it go?