As the mom of a preschool-aged girl, I am always on the lookout for easy ideas to encourage writing at home. I recently found an idea on Pinterest for a nighttime drawing journal (click here to see the post), and I knew it would be a great way for our primary teachers to encourage summer writing.
Teachers can purchase an inexpensive notebook for each student, or they can make a journal using construction paper and blank white paper.
For a summer project, students will take a few minutes each evening and draw their favorite part of the day in their journal. Students can also write a few words to describe their picture.
This student (who happens to be my daughter) wrote this entry:
The picture shows her gray-haired grandma carrying her overnight bag (which contains a pillow and blanket) into the house for a sleepover. “Bama Day,” she wrote on top of the picture. Underneath she wrote, “When Bama came.” You’ll notice the arrows showing Bama’s entrance into our house, along with the chandelier hanging above everyone’s head in the entry way. Another evening, my daughter wrote, “When I went on my neighbor’s swing set” and drew a picture to match:
After using the nighttime drawing journal for a few nights in my own home, I realized that not only were we encouraging a daily writing habit, but we would be creating a beautiful memory book of our summer!
Teachers who send home a nighttime drawing journal should write a short letter to the parents explaining the purpose of the journal. Teachers should encourage parents to spend the ten minutes or so each evening sitting next to their child as he or she draws and writes. For example, if I weren’t sitting next to my own daughter as she drew, I would have missed her narration about her “Bama Day” picture. It was during this time that she told me how the arrows were meant to show her grandma coming into our house. I am not sure I would have recognized the chandelier in the drawing, but I knew what it was because I was sitting by her side as she drew. She also told me she was drawing a pillow and a blanket in the overnight bag. Finally, because I was there, I was able to help her stretch out the words “when” and “came” so she could write them on her picture.
The nighttime drawing journal:
- encourages a daily writing habit
- is a beautiful keepsake
- allows parents to see their child’s capabilities as a writer
- creates meaningful conversation between parent and child
- builds the child’s self-confidence
I’ve enjoyed sitting down with Maddie each evening to draw, write, and talk about our day. I can’t wait to fill her notebook with many more summer memories.
Literacy Coach, Reader, Writer