Creating Writing Journals for Kids
Picture of Writing Journals
Designing a Writer's Notebook for Kids
Journals, composition books, and notebooks can be purchased almost anywhere. I know that I have several that I enjoy writing in. However, there is something about creating a notebook that is personal to you that creates a spark of excitement and an interest and enthusiasm for writing. For reluctant writers as well as those that are already accomplished, a writer’s notebook of their own is just the key to jump start that inspiration.
Creating a writer’s notebook for children is a fantastic way to help children develop their skill and fluency in writing. I use writer’s notebooks in my classroom. Since writing is a family talent, I decided to help my niece and nephew along with my own children, to create one to have for themselves.
Materials Needed to Decorate Your Spiral Notebook or Composition Book
You need several things to create your writer’s notebook, however they are very simple things that you may have around your home or are easy to find in stores. Remember that these are just suggestions for decorations. Decorating ideas for your notebook are as endless as your imagination, so be creative!
Composition book: Anything will work but I like the composition style, not the spiral notebooks.
Variety of pictures: These can be photos of family, vacations, nature, magazine photos, anything that piques your interest and your writer can identify with to feel that it is his or her notebook.
Additional decorations: Stickers, scrapbook paper, foam stickers, markers to write on the notebook are all great additional embellishments for the notebooks.
Scissors and glue for cutting and gluing the pictures down.
Clear contact paper: This will be used to cover the notebook at the end.
Photos of kids creating a writer's notebook.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Steps to Create Your Writer's Notebook for School or Home
The first thing that you want to do after you have gathered all of your materials, is to cut out the pictures that you want to add to your notebook. When I start to get catalogs in the mail for Christmas, I set them aside because I know that they will have pictures that are of interest to my children and I will also not mind having them cut apart. I also use old magazines that I am finished with and photos that have been selected by children that have a personal importance to him or her. These may be photos of family, vacations, something in nature, etc.
Once the pictures have been selected, have the child glue them down on the front and back covers of the notebook. This is where the notebook starts to become their very own. The pictures that are selected and the design that is created personalizes the notebook for each individual child. Note: I like to use glue sticks rather than liquid glue. It does not run the way liquid glue does and takes less time to dry as well as creates a smoother surface.
After all of the pictures have been glued down, it is time to cover the notebook with clear contact paper. This will both smooth out the pictures as well as protect them from damage as the notebook is lovingly used by the child.
When you are covering the notebook, cut the contact paper about an inch larger than the notebook on each side. You will need the extra space to fold the contact paper onto the book to create the seal. Do a quick measure of the contact paper with the notebook and crease where you want to fold the contact paper over onto the front cover of your notebook. This will be important once you remove the backing. Then remove the backing from the contact paper and lay the contact paper flat on the surface of the table. Place the front cover flat on the contact paper and line it up with the crease that you made earlier. (See video for a demonstration.) Next, cut away the overlapping corners, cut a half inch away from the center of the bottom and top center part of the contact paper where the actual pages are. You will not be able to fold this part of the contact paper over so just remove it completely. Then fold the top and bottom parts of the contact paper over onto the front cover of the writer’s notebook. Repeat these steps for the back cover.
Once you have completed covering the notebook with contact paper, your notebook is ready to use! Have a great time collecting the stories and developing ideas to share with your readers. You will be amazed at how this simple notebook inspires your child to write more and more.
Examples of Mentor Text in a notebook.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Additional Writing Journal Ideas
For my students, I tab sections for them that are labeled story ideas, mentor texts, and drafts. The story ideas and mentor texts are smaller sections and are really self-explanatory. The story idea section is for students to keep an ongoing list of ideas of things that they can later create stories about. These can be things like people, places, poetry inspirations or ideas for fiction pieces of writing.
The mentor text section is for students to place examples of writing that they have seen and heard by other author’s that they would like to try in their own writing. It is sort of an inspiration section of the notebook.
The final section is for the young writer to actually compose drafts of their writing. This is the largest section of the notebook because it will in theory be the one that needs the most space to hold all of the wonderful writing that your child or students will create.
Although this hub is dedicated to creating a writer’s notebook for children, it is certainly not something that is JUST for children. I have created my own writer’s notebook that I have decorated with my own interests and inspirations. So don’t think that if you are not a kid, that you cannot create one for yourself. So happy writing to you and your children!