The school year may be over, and many a pupil is sent home with a reading list for the summer. But reading is only half the equation for a successful summer program. If you are concerned about your child not falling behind, then make sure they keep up more than just their reading skills. Try introducing a writing journal for the summer. Do you remember those “What I did on my summer vacation” essays that used to start off the school year? Well, perhaps we need to bring them back.
Writing in a journal can make learning easier and help improve memory, perfect for preparing students for the next school year without them feeling like they are doing homework. And journaling does not just improve one’s learning but also improves ones physical and emotional well-being.
There is evidence to support the idea that journaling has a positive impact on physical well-being. According to PsychCentral.com, “regular journaling strengthens immune cells, called T-lymphocytes. Other research indicates that journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.” And that “writing about stressful events helps you come to terms with them, thus reducing the impact of these stressors on your physical health.
In fact, just the act of putting pen to paper brings about peace of mind. Leslie Andrus-Hacia, M.F.T., a clinical psychiatric counselor with Dignity Health Medical Foundation’s Rancho Cordova Children’s Center, told Family Health and Wellness, “Writing is a brain-based porthole leading to a balanced and calm state of being … through writing, both right-and left-brain hemispheres communicate, synthesizing information that ultimately results in greater mental coherence.”
Other added benefits of journal writing is the development of “strong written communication skills” as well as improving a child’s reading skills. In a story for the Huffington Post, Thai Nguyen reported that “Journaling is an exploration of language, you’ll have the natural urge to search for new words and increase your vocabulary … one of the best single measures of overall intelligence as measured by intelligence tests is vocabulary.”
Starting a journal is pretty easy, all you need is a notebook and a few ideas. Have your child write about the books they are reading for the summer, not just for school but for fun. Also, writing prompts are great way to get the creative juices flowing.
There are many books and sites that provide writing prompts for young writers, such as Write It Out: Hundreds of Writing Prompts to Inspire Creative Thinking, 642 Things to Write About: Young Writer's Edition, DailyWritingTips.com and CreativeWritingPrompts.com. You can also use photos to inspire a story. We even have a list of 25 writing prompts just for kids to get you started.