Hi, Friends! This is Autumn from The Primary Techie. I am always excited to blog for the Primary Chalkboard. Today I am going to share one of my favorite reading and writing tools: Family Response Journals. These journals are for parents and kids to write letters back and forth.
I got this idea from my daughter's first grade teacher many years ago. I absolutely loved writing her letters and knowing that she would get to read them during her school day. My daughter is 16 now and I still have that journal. It is one of my most treasured keepsakes because it is a record of our relationship and what was happening during that time in our lives. I have done Family Response Journals with my first graders for the past eleven years. Here are some of the tips and tricks I have learned to make them successful.
In the beginning of the year, we brainstorm a letter that we can all write about - "Dear Mom, We are learning about bugs. My favorite bug is a _______________. What is your favorite bug? Love, ________." If kids can or want to write independently, they are encouraged to do so. I write the "generic" letter on the board for beginning writers to copy. After Christmas, I no longer model a letter on the board. I just wander around and help students as needed. We write in our journals on Monday. Parents have all week to write back before sending them back to school on Friday.
Kids LOVE to get letters back from their parents! Here are some tips I always share with my parents:
- If you don't send the journals, they can't do it! This is a really fun way to encourage reading and writing. PLEASE write back to your child and send journals back to school!
- Remember that this is being read by a beginning reader! Use your NICEST printing. The kids gain reading practice with this activity. Cursive makes this impossible with little guys.
- Kids should write to someone in their house, so they can write back. Sometimes my journals are missing for weeks because a student decided to write to his grandma and left the journal at her house.
These make great end of the year keepsakes. They take about 20-30 minutes a week, but are wonderful reading and writing practice.
Click here to download journal pages for FREE!
Thanks for reading, Friends! Until next time,