Book of the week GIVEAWAY: Chester’s Way by Kevin Henkes
Last week we highlighted 10 easy steps to introduce journal writing to children. Okay, no beating around the bush this week. As adults, most of us have unrealistic expectations of children. We hand them a journal and expect them to start writing. And even worse, we expect them to write lovely stories and beautiful memoirs. Let’s all admit it, children often don’t have a clue what we want them to write about. So why don’t we give them a little inspiration by reading the writing of some wonderfully talented authors:
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge is a young boy trying to find the answer to the question, “What is a memory?” This book is extremely touching. When I read this book to teachers, there is not a dry eye left in the room by the time I am finished, including mine.
1. I begin journal writing every year by reading Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox. (preschool – third grade / public school and homeschool) After Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge helps Miss Nancy find her memory, I engage the children in a discussion about their own special memories.
“What is a memory?”
“Does this story make you think of any memories?”
2. Next, I invite the children to draw and write about a special memory.
This is one of MacGyver’s first journal entries in his kindergarten journal. After I read aloud Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, MacGyver decided to write about one of his special memories. We had just returned from a family beach vacation. At night Daddy and MacGyver would walk the beach with flashlights hunting for crabs. We have several scenes above. Daddy and MacGyver with their flashlights. MacGyver’s hand holding a crab. And a submarine. No they didn’t ride in a submarine. I took dictation.
In his first grade journal, MacGyver wrote about a special day at the park with his cousin Sydni. MacGyver never tells me he doesn’t know what to write about. He knows his journal is a place where he writes about himself, things he likes, memories and things he learns. Each day I ask him what he’s going to write about. First we talk, then he draws and he finishes with his writing.
3. Throughout the year we read books that spark our own memories. Here are a few to get you started:
Who knew the actress Jamie Lee Curtis was so in touch with the feelings of young children.
1. “What makes you feel silly, grumpy, angry, joyful, quiet . . . ?“
2. “How have you changed since you were a baby? Do you have any special memories from when you were a baby?”
3. “What’s hard about being 4, 5, 6, 7 . . .? How are you changing now that you are 4, 5, 6, 7 . . .?”
Kevin Henkes is my favorite author! His stories show that he definitely knows children, parents and teachers! I love reading his books to children. They laugh while I read and then we discuss all of the memories that his stories spark.
1. “Have you ever had anything you were attached to like Owen’s fuzzy blanket?”
2. “Have you ever had a friend like Wendell? Have you ever been bossy like Wendell?”
3. “Have you ever gotten a special gift like Lilly’s purple plastic purse?”
4. “Are you the baby in your family? How do you think that makes your big brother/sister feel?”
Okay you get the idea, I pick books that are about every day life and then start a discussion about memories. Next, I invite the children to draw and write about their memories. Their journals truly become a memoir. These are both sweet stories about mothers and daughters. Miss Enigma, age 3, loves Come On, Rain!
Here are three more for you. I promise I’m going to stop now. No really I am! But it’s so hard to stop telling you about all of the books I love sharing with children. Just for the record, The Ghost Eye Tree, by Bill Martin Jr.and John Archambault, is one of my very favorite books to read aloud.
In honor of Jeannine’s favorite author, we’re GIVING away one copy of Chester’s Way by Kevin Henkes
To enter this contest, just answer the following question in the comments section of this post.
Jamie Lee Curtis wrote It’s Hard to be Five. So tell us, what’s hard about being your age? Or even better tell us what you love about your age. (Or just say “Hey.” We’re flexible around here.)
One entry per person, please.
No entries after 8:00 pm Central Time, Thursday, September 9, 2010
The winner must be a resident of The United States.
The winner will be selected at random and announced Friday, September 10, 2010. Check back it might be you!
THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED. You welcome to leave a comment we love to read all of your messages!
Life with Jeannine