It seems contradictory to tell an Orlando private school student to journal to improve writing skills, but practice in writing improves performance and confidence. To instill this confidence, have your child journal at home for a set number of minutes every day. If your child can hold a pencil, he or she is capable of journaling. Drawing, writing quotes or song lyrics, or simply doodling along the border of the page is considered journaling. For early elementary students, you might consider asking them to draw a picture and you can add the picture’s description afterward. As your scholar develops, have him or her write a detailed explanation about a picture, only interceding when necessary. Once or twice a year, have your child re-read the journal to determine how much his or her writing skills have progressed. At this point, introduce editing practices. Self-editing is a great tool. Have a marking pencil handy for your child to correct any errors. The act of writing and editing will assist your burgeoning Hemingway in holistically understanding sentence and paragraph structure, noun/verb agreement, punctuation, capitalization, and other grammar and literature skills.

If you and your child both experience writer’s block and are not able to develop a daily prompt, consider purchasing a journal with prompts already on the pages. Sometimes the prompt will stimulate another story or side conversation to open the door to your child’s mind. Save those ideas for additional writing prompts, or text a quick prompt to yourself during the day when life flings a potential story your way.

Often, when a child begins journaling it becomes a life-long passion. Journaling is a cathartic release, allowing children and adolescents to share information they are too self-conscious to mention aloud. This does not give a parent the right to read his or her child’s journal, no matter how tempting. Always ask before reading your child’s journal or trust will be lost and the joy or journaling may abruptly end. When your child shares entries from his or her journal, you will undoubtedly have a variety of emotions: pride, expectation, happiness, and love. You may also hear entries that may surprise and shock you. My son loves using writing prompts given by his teacher to create wondrous stories of intrigue. For a while, every story ended with the main character in the same exact setting. I looked forward to hearing his daily stories to learn how he was able to twist the plot to fit his ending. This exercise helped my son reach beyond the ordinary to create hilarious fiction.

Browse the Lake Forrest Preparatory School blog page for more tips on Orlando private school education and writing. Let us know if and how you encourage your child or children to journal at home. Does your child remember which prompts sparked the best entries? We would love to share your thoughts.