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The journal, a recap

A year and a half ago I bought a stack of composition books on sale for a whopping twenty cents each. Shortly after that I encouraged Calvin to start keeping a journal in one of them. I figured that was the best possible way to encourage ownership and pride in writing while providing lots of fun, individual practice. I tried to get him to write at least once a week, and most weeks he wrote three or more times without prodding, but some weeks he required more encouragement than others.

The journal did turn out to be an invaluable tool in his quest to learn reading and writing, and I credit it almost entirely with his quick grasp of these skills, the only other tool we used being his constant immersion in a reading household, and the multitude of books we read to him each and every day, plus loving support and encouragement. Now, 18 months later, he has filled the journal, and it is additionally a rather loved keepsake. Good thing I bought a whole stack.

Calvin used his journal in lots of different ways—accounting for the happenings of life, writing stories, reviewing things he'd been learning, and summarizing books he'd read. In the beginning I encouraged him to write at least three words, and to draw the rest of his entry. Over time words took the place of the pictures, and by the end I was encouraging him to add illustrations, which I think are just as precious and important.

Here are some of my very favorites.

Calvin's very first journal entry, a short account of a day in which he and I read a book while eating lunch, and either practiced piano or had a lesson, dated 9-9-10 (date written by me)

Calvin's last entry in this journal, a book review of The Enormous Egg, by Oliver Butterworth (a three pager, including the accompanying picture), dated 3/29/12

A trip to the store, 9/21/10

Calvin's first book review, a review of Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White, 9/31/10

Calvin and I read the Wizard of Oz series together over the course of about six months. Calvin reviewed each and every book in the series, and his writing grew and changed immensely over that time. Here are just three:
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, 10/21/10

The Lost Princess of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, 3/29/11

Glinda of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, 5/18/11

And Calvin's own story, A Story About Steggy, 7/11/11

A Penguin Acrostic Poem, 9/21/11

All about Halloween, 11/1/11