Most public schools already use the draw and write layout where the child draws a picture and then writes about what they drew. This starts at a young age with wider lines and only a few of them, progressing to narrower lines and more of them as children get older. It’s a great way to teach handwriting skills in addition to learning to write about something they see.
Since kids are already familiar with the layout, having draw and write journals for non-school activities serves a two-fold purpose … showing children that what they learn in school can also relate to or be done outside of school, and helping them do better in school.
Repetition is key when learning a new skill, and as long as school is in session the writing practice is done on a regular basis so skills continue to improve. But when school lets out for the Christmas break or for the summer, children will lose some of their proficiency if they go weeks without practicing their writing.
In order to keep handwriting skills improving, find a way for your child to continue practicing even when school is out. A draw and write journal is a logical choice for your little one to continue improving while not realizing it (score one for the parents!)
Over the Christmas break, help your child write daily in their journal by drawing and describing a particular event. If it is a really exciting and full day, they might have more than one special event to write about. Help them think of charitable things they can do and then have them write about that.
Since the summer vacation can be long and full, most children will be more than willing to forget about “school stuff” and so getting some writing done might be difficult. So make a game out of it or purposely make it something they do for a specified period of time.
A vacation journal is a great way to get in some serious writing practice just by recording what they did every day of vacation. Whether the family goes somewhere or the children spend time with grandparents, there are sure to be many events during the summer months that a child with a little prompting (and a book they like) would be willing to draw and write about.
If parents, older siblings, or friends will be journaling during the summer, a younger child will often want to do so also, just so they can be doing what everyone else is doing. Make it a family project and get the whole family writing over the summer months.
Keep The Learning Going
While many activities are often thought of as just something you do in school, draw and write journals can help bring the learning outside the classroom. If you go see a movie, have your child draw a picture and describe any scene that made an impression on them. If they meet someone new or have a new experience, have them draw and write about it to describe how they felt.
There are always new things happening in a child’s life so take those opportunities to help your child practice their handwriting and hone their storytelling skills by recording those events in a draw and write journal that is appropriate for their age.
As a parent, you will cherish those books and be able to see your child’s growth and maturity over the years. And they will enjoy or get a kick out of it later in their own life.