Journal Writing for Children

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As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. This is especially true when it comes to writing, an activity that many young students find intimidating, tedious or just plain difficult. However, developing strong written communication skills is a vital component of your child’s overall success in middle school, high school and college (as well as in the adult workplace).

The challenge is to make writing fun–or at least bearable-for children, while teaching them the essentials of the craft. How can parents encourage children to sharpen their writing skills? One activity that has many tangible, and intangible, benefits for children of all ages is journalizing, or writing in a diary.

Journal writing allows children the rare chance to write entirely for themselves. They can write about any topic they choose and are assured that their writing will be free from grading or criticism. To introduce journalizing to your child, provide him or her with a small blank notebook to use. Better yet, have him or her accompany you to the bookstore or office-supply center to select a notebook.

Your child is more likely to warm to journalizing if he or she is allowed a say in how the activity is structured, including where, when and how long it will take place. Your child might enjoy the privacy of writing in his or her room. At other times, he or she might prefer writing while on the couch or floor. Offer suggestions and options, but do not force anything.
Journal Writing Benefits Children by:

Encouraging them to explore their minds. Children who write in journals may discover a talent for, or interest in, creating stories, poetry or other forms of expression.

Improving spelling and grammar. The more a child writes. the more likely it is that he or she will seek the correct way to form letters and spell words.  Additionally, regular writing helps children practice structuring sentences and learn a variety of sentence patterns. Although grammar is certainly not a child’s focus in regularly keeping a journal, the act is likely to result in improved writing abilities and communication skills.

Helping with reading. As we all know, reading and writing go hand in hand.  The mechanical process of spelling out a word, letter by letter, reinforces that word’s construction and helps a child understand what he or she is writing and how to sound it out.
Giving them some control over their lives. Today’s children lead busy lives that are filled with school, activities, homework, and other responsibilities. Journal writing may provide a bit of much-needed personal downtime in their hectic daily schedules.

Developing communication skills. The art of written communication is one of the most important skills that a child will need throughout life. Free-form writing provides a child with the opportunity to explain or communicate something – whether a personal experience or an invented story. Regular writing will improve this ability, even if the topic isn’t required for history or English class.
If children find writing and communicating difficult during their early education, they may struggle even more in middle and high school, when substantive writing will be required.  Although encouraging your child to keep a journal isn’t the only way to develop his or her writing skills, it may help show your child that writing can be a fun and relaxing activity.

Holly About Holly

Kids Activities Blog is Holly's blogging home.

She is the mom of three boys ages 7, 10 and 12 who partially homeschools. She believes that you shouldn't have to buy stuff to have fun when there is a kitchen junk drawer full of possibilities.

She can also be found at Business 2 Blogger, on Twitter as @QuirkyMommaSite or @Texasholly, but her favorite place to hang out is on Google +.

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