Monday, 14 April 2014
Maintaining a journal for your child is a simple and effective tool for early literacy development. You can start using it as soon as she starts holding a crayon and scribbling (as early as 1 and a half or 2 years of age). All you need is a plain notebook preferably A4 or A3 size. As she makes marks in the book, ask her what it is and write down the words or sentences next to the drawings. (Don’t restrict her to the thick crayons. Let her explore drawing with markers, pencils, pens, coloured pencils etc.) You will see how her ideas progress from words to sentences to stories.
Seeing you write, will motivate her to attempt writing down the words herself with scribbles or letters. Depending on her age, phonemic awareness (awareness that words can be broken down into sounds) and phonic skills (ability to associate sounds with letters of the alphabet) she will write the words with initial, medial and ending sounds (developmental/ phonetic/ invented spellings). For example initially she might write just the letter ‘a’ to say apple, then ‘al’, then apl and so on. Please remember not to criticize her drawings, stories or her spellings. Just accept and support no matter how silly they are. It’s the start of big ideas!
The journal should be used as a motivation and confidence building tool for literacy development and not for attaining perfection in handwriting or spellings, although good handwriting and spellings would be the byproducts of it. Apart from enhancing reading and writing skills, journal writing is also great for promoting fine motor skills and vocabulary development.