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If your child struggles with clarity and coherency in her writing, then I learned a game-changing tip that makes our second grade journal assignments so much easier and fulfilling. It might work for you, too…
I learn a lot of homeschool tips and tricks from other people. Articles, blogs, social media, other parents, teachers and friends are all great resources when it comes to finding ideas for what might work when it comes to teaching my children. However, one of my favorite resources for learning how to teach my children is, my children themselves.
Occasionally we stumble together upon something new that just works. This is one of those instances.
Making a Journal Assignment a Diverse Creative Outlet
When I was creating Reading 2 for the Ron Paul Curriculum, one of the things I included was a journal. My thoughts were that it would help reinforce the lessons while giving the students handwriting practice, all while being maybe a little fun at the same time.
For each journal page I also included a blank space above the lines for writing where the student can illustrate their entry. My thought process behind this was that since children all have different learning styles, it would be a nice diversion or creative outlet for the students who might get bored with too much reading and writing and not enough artistic expression. Also, if the students complete the entire journal, they could make it into a keepsake of their Grade 2 journey. Illustrations are always nice.
All of that is well and good, but my daughter and I stumbled upon an unexpected benefit of the journal illustrations. It turns out that it might be the greatest benefit of all.
When we first started the curriculum I would have my daughter come up with a few sentences of things she wanted to say in response to the prompt, then after I helped her write the sentences out, my part would be done. Then I would leave her to her artistic pursuits.
What I learned, however, is that I was doing it backwards!
The trick to the journal illustration is to have the student draw the picture first and then write the entry. Now, maybe your child’s personality is vastly different from my daughter’s and this wouldn’t work for them at all. For my daughter though, this little epiphany was a game changer.
I have discovered that the journal works so much better if I just have her create the illustration first! I read to her the day’s prompt and then I let her draw whatever she wants in response to it.
Improving Clarity and Coherency
Sometimes my daughter has a difficult time organizing her thoughts into concise and easy-to-write sentences. She is a little girl who has a lot to say, but sometimes she struggles with clarity and coherency in her writing. She’s just beginning her writing career, so this is developmentally normal.
I have found that when she creates the drawing first, it gives her something concrete to talk about. She has an easier time coming up with sentences in response to the prompt because she is now describing her drawing, and explaining why she chose to draw it in response to the prompt.
I take for granted that as an adult, I can hear the prompt and immediately come up with several ways to answer it. A child is more easily overwhelmed by the possibilities and doesn’t have as much practice when it comes to organizing thoughts into writing.
I hope that you will find this useful for your child too!
You can preview my Reading 2 course for free by clicking here: 2nd Grade Reading. The first five lessons are free to watch. You don’t even need to be a member, just click that link. The lessons are at the bottom of the page. There are three journal entries you can try with your child and see how it goes!