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Dictate Journal

October 18, 2008

a journal written by a child beginning to sound out words

Having your child dictate her stories and ideas to you is like having a window into her thoughts. What a wonderful way to learn what your child is thinking about and how she views the world around her. It is also a great way to model writing. Seeing her words written down can be a thrilling moment for your child. Before you know it, she will be writing her journals herself. When your child is learning her letter sounds, writing can be a long and difficult process. Having her dictate the words frees your child from not only having to sound out the words but also figuring out how to form the individual letters. This allows her to freely express herself without any barriers.

Materials:
Choose the paper that best suits your child:
crayons or markers
pencil
wide lined paper pdf – 2 lines to write and a place to draw
wide lined paper (download for $1) – colored lines to guide child
wide lined paper (download for $1) – all black

  1. After doing the apple tastingapple painting or going to the apple orchard, ask your child to tell you what she learned or what she enjoyed most.
  2. You may have her draw out what she learned first or start with the words, either is okay.
  3. Your child will be very excited to tell you everything she learned and did. The hard part is getting her to slow down so you can write it all down. It is important that you write down the words that she uses and not to make any corrections.  Your child will know if you haven’t written her words.
  4. The first journals can be a word or phrase whatever strikes your child’s interest.
  5. As you write down her words, skip every other line. This is so your child will have room to trace the letters underneath. At first, only have her do a line or two.  If she is struggling, have her trace your letters.
  6. As your child becomes more proficient with making her letters, she will be able to write all of her words.
  7. You’ll want to date the journals and either put them together with cardboard and material or use a 3-ring binder to keep them organized. The journals are a great way to see your child’s progress and she will be delighted to read it year’s later. You might want to try making a homemade book using Making Books by Hand: A Step-by-Step Guide of your child’s journals.

Assessment

When you have your child dictate to you: have patience, she isn’t used to putting her thoughts on paper, don’t rush her – thinking takes work. You are modeling what writing is all about, taking ideas and forming them into sentences that express her ideas for others to share. In the process you are creating a life long writer through your encouragement and patience.

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