Want to put the fun back into writing? This dialogue journal is a back and forth project you do together. It models good writing, plus helps kids learn to get their true thoughts down on paper.
What You Need:
- Spiral notebook (your child may choose a notebook with a fancy cover or you can decorate one together)
What You Do:
- Tell your child to imagine that you have both lost your voices and will need to write things down, rather than speak. Introduce the dialogue journal by explaining what the word dialogue means, and tell your child that your journal will be used for communication once a day. In a way, it's kind of like the game of tag, but with writing, as you'll work back and forth on it. Decide upon an accessible spot to keep the journal.
- The parent should write the first entry in the journal. Keep it short and light; write about whatever comes to mind and remember that your child will be responding to what you write.(You may include a few questions/prompts to make it easier for your child to respond.) The entry should only take about 5 minutes to write.
- After school, your child will look at the journal and write his response. Encourage him to ask you a few questions, too, so that you can more easily respond. Questions like: “What do you think?” “What would you do?” “Can you tell me a little bit more about ______?” and similar prompts are good for soliciting rich responses.
- Repeat Steps 2-3 as long as you wish to continue the journal. Periodically, praise your child’s writing and entries. As you continue journaling, your child will enjoy a new, informal way to communicate his thoughts. And he'll have the chance to see what good writing looks like, which, with any luck, will transfer to his writing.
Laurie Daley has been in the educational field for nine years. She holds an M.A. in Reading, is a state certified reading specialist, and also holds a middle school mathematics endorsement. Throughout her career, she has worked with students from ages 5 through adult.