When I first heard about preschool journal prompts I was hesitant. I mean preschoolers cannot write a response to a journal prompt. But then I thought more about it and I realized that a crucial part of writing and often the most difficult part is learning that you have something to say. Though I think most of us would agree that our preschoolers are never running out of things to say. I am right there with you, Reagan always has something to share. So, I thought I would put her gift to gab to good use and show her that her verbal communication can become written communication.
Before I get into the nitty gritty and how to’s let me say, this has become an activity that I greatly enjoy doing with Reagan and I will treasure her preschool journal forever. Capturing her responses to these journal prompts makes me ridiculously happy.
How To Create a Preschool Journal
A journal for preschoolers is very simple to create. I went to the Dollar Tree and bought a composition notebook. They have some very cute designs and of course it is only a dollar.
Next, I printed off labels that have journal prompts on them. These prompts include questions about the child and their family, seasonal journal prompts, letters, numbers, and shapes. I printed my prompts on these labels here. At the bottom of this post you will find my journal prompts.
Finally, I put a journal prompt label on each page of the journal. I organized the prompts so that every other page was a journal prompt or a letter/number/shape. However, if I were to do it again, I would put all of the journal prompts together, all the letters together, all the numbers together, and all the shapes together. I like the second option better because some days Reagan wants to just work on letters and some days she wants to respond to prompts and do letters so we are currently jumping around a lot and I feel less organized.
What To Expect of a Preschool Journal
So what does journaling with preschoolers look like? Well, of course it depends on the prompt.
When the journal prompt is something like “Tell me about your sibling” Reagan will respond and I will write down her entire answer. I write it down verbatim, even if she goes on a little tangent or is using improper grammar. Then, I ask her to draw a picture about her answer. I want to record her answers just the way she said them. There are three reason for this.
- I want to remember her answers exactly as they are at this age.
- Writing exactly what she said shows her that her words have meaning and value
- It will be an excellent way for me to measure growth and development as her responses improve.
Letter Prompts –
When the journal prompt is simply a letter I write the letter (capital and lowercase) on the page nice and large. Reagan then traces it with a crayon or with stickers. Sometimes we find stickers that start with that letter (ie. apple sticker for a) and put those stickers on that page. We also brainstorm words that start with that letter and write them on the letter page.
Number Prompts –
When the journal prompt is a number we will write the numeral. I will write it and she will trace over it. Then we will add the corresponding number of stickers or create a ten frame and fill it in with the corresponding number. We might also write the written number (ie two for the number 2).
When the journal prompt is a shape we will trace over the shape, record the shape’s features (number of sides, number of corners, round or straight edges). We might also identify everyday objects that are the same shape.
The Benefits of a Preschool Journal
Preschool journal writing has several benefits.
- Children learn that spoken words can become written words.
- Children learn that written words hold meaning (especially when you read their writing back to them).
- Children take greater interest in writing and begin “writing” on their own. Even if they are creating lists or words without real words or letters and their writing is “scribbling” this builds up their writing fluency and interest in writing.