If you're looking for great ways to make reading and writing fun for your kids, one of the best ways to do so is to share the activity with them. Keep a journal together - not just one that allows you to write about what you've done each day or activities that you've completed together, but one that allows you to pass notes back and forth. Your child will be excited by the opportunity to write notes to you, and will love reading what you've written especially for them.
Offer free writing time
Let your child write about whatever they like. Resist the urge to edit when you go back to read it later. Remember that every word is heartfelt and important to them, especially if they're writing you a letter. You can note skills that might need some work in the future for your own records without pointing them out to your child. Remember, the point of this journal is to communicate with one another.
Have a list of prompts available
There's nothing worse than the dreaded, "I don't know what to write about." Provide a list of prompts, especially prompts that you'll love looking back at with your child in the future. Consider topics like:
- My favorite summer memory
- What I love most about Mommy
- What I love most about Daddy
- My favorite toy
- My favorite movie
- My favorite story
- Three things I want to do this summer
- My favorite [holiday] memory (relating to the most recent holiday)
- My favorite thing about my family
- What I love most about my brother/sister
- My favorite thing to do on Saturday
- My favorite subject/class in school
All of these are great ways to begin discussions about the things your child loves the most, as well as recording memories that will last a lifetime. Remember, this is a shared journal. You should also take the time to write out your response to the prompt for your child to enjoy.
Share stories and poems that you love
Make copies of pieces that caught your attention and made you think of your child, whether it's a comic that you found online or a poem that stood out to you. Perhaps it was a passage in a book you were reading or a note that was shared by a friend. All of these are great opportunities for your child to practice reading. If it's a shorter passage, you can choose to copy it out by hand instead of using a paper copy.
Add in pictures that mean a lot to you or your child
In today's digital society, pictures are often stored in hard drives or on the internet instead of placed in photo albums. Unfortunately, this means that your child might never get to see them. Instead of hiding those important pictures away, print and glue them into your journal, photo album, or scrapbook. Make sure you take time to write a caption about what was happening when the picture was taken. You might be surprised by how precious these memories are later. Your child will also love flipping through those pages and looking at the stories that go along with the pictures.
Keeping a journal with your child is a great way to get insight into their heart. You'll learn more about them, share with them, and practice reading and writing at the same time. This amazing project is a great way for you to encourage these important skills without making it seem like work. In fact, your child will likely be excited every time you pass the journal to them.