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Are you an interactive journal fan? Unfamiliar with them? We talk with author Paula Spencer Scott about how a love of writing can help foster a love of reading and how to use interactive journals to strengthen our bonds with our children in interactive journaling in the new year with Paula Spencer Scott.
This week we are joined by Paula Spencer Scott, author and co-author of more than a dozen books. Her work includes Surviving Alzheimer’s and The Happiest Toddler on the Block and four different interactive journals. One of her journals, Like Mother, Like Daughter: A Discovery Journal for the Two of Us was a joint project with her own daughter, Page Spencer. She put all this knowledge and experience to work raising her and her husband’s six children and we are so glad she joined us to chat about all of this!
In this episode we talk about:
1. “Writing is a skill deeply fused with reading.” The two skills go hand-in-hand, but we often overlook the writing part of the equation at home with our families.
2. Interactive journals are a great way to start incorporating writing time into your family time. These journals provide you with prompts to get you started and some, like two of the ones Paula has written, are designed for two people to write together. We talk about the bonding experience of reading together, but these journals can create a bonding experience through writing!
3. Paula has seen many benefits come from keeping a journal in her and her kids’ lives.
- Anything you do longhand is great for fine motor skills practice.
- Journaling helps kids become closer observers of what is going on around them
- It creates a time capsule where you can go back and remember what happens in their lives and how they change.
- Emotional benefits- it is a safe place to vent, use their imaginations, set goals, work through how life works and social systems.
4. Another great idea Paula gave us is to do vacation journals. She would give her kids blank books for trips they took for them to write their stories and create a momento. This adds a whole new level of using books when you travel!
5. Paula reminds us that journals should be fun! Have special colored markers or a book they pick out themselves. Don’t correct their grammar or spelling- the important thing is that they are just doing it!
6. Along with keeping journals, Paula had some other great ideas to write more at home with our kids. She suggested letting our kids see us use our skills and write things down, even when we could do the task using a device. Have a dedicated writing space with fun pencils, colored paper, dry erase boards or chalkboards. Using sidewalk chalk to write. Have your kids write thank you notes or birthday cards. Her kids loved creating and writing scavenger hunts for each other.
Paula left us with a great idea of how to get started on putting these great ideas into practice this week. She invited us to pick a fun book together with your child, whether it’s an interactive journal or just a blank notebook, get a couple of fun pens and start with a question to them. Once they write their answer, have them write a question for you to answer. For younger kids, ask them the questions and write their answers and responding questions for them.
Interactive Journaling in the New Year
We are so grateful to Paula for taking the time to talk with us! More information about her, her books and her journals can be found in the following places:
You can find Paula’s interactive journals along with others at her publisher’s website, Peter Pauper Press.
Books we mentioned:
The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us About The Mind by Alison Gopnik
The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love and the Meaning of Life by Alison Gopnik
Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser
If you have a goal to journal more this year or help your child love reading or to bond with him/her, we hope you give interactive journals a try!
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