- First, it gives children a place to express what is important to them and what they love. You get a glimpse into their inner world! What are their interests? Concerns? etc.
- Second, it supports the use of important thinking/cognitive processing that does not otherwise get activated. It is brain smart! It requires the child draw from that which is meaningful to them and then give it form in symbolic terms (drawing, words, complete thoughts, etc).
- An important tip #1. I never write the “adult” version of their writing on the page. To me, this undermines the process. We are honoring their self-expression. When you re-write their expression – it sends the message their writing is not “correct” or good enough. I find each level of writing to have its own splendor and as you dwell in kid writing – you can truly “get” the written communication it is. It is disrespectful in my opinion to re-write in a child’s journal. It is not the place.
- An important tip #2. I feel strongly about this – handwriting and writing are two separate processes in the beginning. Handwriting is the construction of specific line formations. Journal writing is learning how to capture thoughts on a page as words and sentences. A kindergarten student is new to both processes. Keep them separate!!
I do not give the children lined paper for journal writing at anytime during kindergarten (I use lined paper exclusively for handwriting practice). I feel it requires too much thought about the lines and not enough freedom in thinking. I want the children to focus on the sounds and what letters to use.