Saturday, August 22, 2009

Writing Journals

I am a big proponent of making writing accessible to children. The more books visible, the better. Writing is everywhere: subway signs, cereal boxes, t-shirts, etc. Writing is a seamless part of life and the more we can point this out the more we can make the word a permanent fixture in a child's growing vocabulary. For this reason, I believe in the concept of a writing journal. Not a diary, a writing journal. Writing can and in some cases should be private but in the early years dialogue is the most important thing and by that I mean a great bounty of words: exchanged, spoken and written-down.

This particular journal is the one I use. I have about seven of them. I bought my first one in Edinburgh and the second in Prague. Yes, I was feeling pretty hoity-toity for awhile. Oh, you know, my special European journal. That can only be purchased in terribly far-away places. Like Romania, and Guam. Last summer, however, I walked into Barnes and Noble in Union Square and low and behold there was my special European journal sandwiched between the wall of greeting cards and the escalator. About as unique as Starbucks.

But, I highly recommend Paper Blanks. Not only are they hands-down the most beautiful journals I have ever come across but they are also incredibly functional. They have a magnetic strip that holds the pages in place that is certainly key for folks like me who might keep less than tidy bags. I have had many a journal ruined because the covers splayed out and the pages all became bent. Not so with Paper Blanks.

Another fun thing to do is to make your own journal. This is an activity children especially love and I find is symbolically very cool: the idea that they are making their very own book. The primary goal of my program has always been to empower children to feel like authors because, in fact, they are. It is a remarkable thing for a child to see the writing process through regardless of whether they can actually put words on a page yet. If you have young children I suggest creating journals together. Go to the store and pick out paper. Talk about all the things you can’t wait to write down in your own journal and ask them what they’d like to put in theirs. Pick out crayons. Get staples or tape or ribbon for binding. Have fun! Remember, writing is a process. Enjoy each and every step.

1 comment:

  1. For some reason the blog won't let me comment on the reading list post, so I'll post here.

    What a great list of books. I haven't read any of them and they all sound like great additions to my daughter's library for future reading.

    Our favorite Eloise so far is Eloise takes a Bawth. I'll have to get a copy of Eloise in Paris. I love your anecdote about finding it at Shakespeare and Co. What a perfect way to find that book. It sounds like you had a magical time in Paris.

    Thank you for the list of summer reads!