Friday, May 29, 2009

Summer Writing Fun for Kids

Journaling is an easy and simple way to improve writing skills.

Journals don't have to be lengthy or perfect, or even written. Some of the most exciting journals could be created by kids who aren't old enough to write.

Journaling is a good way for kids to record a special outing, event, vacation, or an entire summer. Because of their creative flexibility, the journal can be adapted for any age and ability. The most common forms are the weekly or daily journals and the lengthier vacation journal.

Weekly or Daily Journal

Have kids pick a week or a day; it doesn't matter. Some special times for the weekly journal could include
  • Summer day camp
  • Visiting relatives
  • Vacation Bible School
Some special times for the daily journal could include
  • Outing to the zoo, museum, ghost town, or....
  • Storytime at the library
  • A birthday party
  • Holidays like Flag Day, 4th of July, Colorado Day
  • Frontier Days
Journal entries can take several forms and all are great learning tools.

• Draw a picture of what they have done, or
• Cut and paste a picture from a magazine, newspaper, etc.
• Take and upload photos to a computer journal.
• Write an entry to go with the picture.
• Simply write an entry without any pictures.

Remember those cave and tomb pictures you've seen? Those were the first journals! So even if you have a child who cannot write a word, they can still create a picture. And if they want, you can fill in the words for them.

Vacation Journal

These journals use a combination of the weekly and daily journals. Several ways to have kids get involved with the journal can be used.
  • At the end of the day, record sights, travel, food, etc.
  • Tell about getting there.
  • Tell about each activity or sight
  • What the hotel/motel was like
  • Where we ate and what we ate
  • What does this vacation place look like
Final Product

Regardless which journal is used, help your kids make it special.
  • Put it on the computer and print it out.
  • Buy an inexpensive photo/scrapbook so kids can then mount their writings and their photos.
  • Encourage them to share with family and friends.

The key for getting kids to use journals is to make it fun. If you demand that they do a journal, then they probably won't. Let them decide what they want to record and how. Even if they know how to write, they may prefer a photo or drawing journal. Remember those cave and tomb paintings!

If your kids, or even you, do this over the summer, let all of us know how it worked. Leave your comment by clicking on the envelope below.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

More Summer Reading for Kids

If you are still searching for middle grade novels to get your readers and reluctant readers involved in over the summer months, here is one series that will surprise readers and one great horse story to consider.

Among the Hidden

Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix is the first book in the Shadow Children series of novels that explore the lives of children who were not supposed to be born. In this world, families are forbidden to have more than two children.

Luke, the third child in his family, has only spent a few hours outside his house. He has never attended school and spends his days inside keeping to himself. He must be careful never to let himself be seen. Then he discovers a girl like himself living next door. The two meet and scheme to get the government to change the ruling. The compelling nature of children being forbidden and forced to remain in hiding engulfs young readers and hooks them to the end.

War Horse

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo is a story of Joey, a farm horse, who finds himself in the middle of WW1. That fact alone hooks many young readers. Told by Joey, this story follows his journey into war and explores his relationships and friendships with the many people that come into his life. Along his journey, Joey encounters adults and loving children. His view of war and people present readers with unique views. From his beginning friendship with Albert, to his new master in the army, to the young girl in the French countryside, Joey's story holds young readers' attention.

These books, written for ages 8-12, treat readers to fast paced adventures and protagonists close to their own ages. All three novels novels have strong boy and girl characters. The concepts of friendship and trust presented in each story are ones easily understood by young readers. These books are sure to entice reluctant readers.

Thank you

Thanks to everyone who attended the Book Signing Open House and to those who have purchased Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend.  Your support is appreciated.