Free download: My Reading and Word Journal

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Here’s a free booklet for use in documenting early reading progress and giving credit where it’s due, now many parents with young children are home helping flatten the COVID-19 curve.

Download and print our new Spelfabet My Reading and Word Journal on A4 paper, fold and staple it, and use it to document children’s reading, in two vital categories:

1. Books your child reads. These should mainly contain the spelling patterns they’ve been taught (decodable books, there are quite a few free or heavily discounted ones available now). Reading such books builds word identification skills, which in turn build reading fluency.

2. Books you read aloud to your child. These might be stories, books about animals, places, the universe, anything that interests your child but is currently too hard for them to read themselves. This type of reading builds vocabulary and comprehension, and shows kids that reading is awesome.

Most of My Reading and Word Journal’s pages start like this:

Adult’s comments should be as specific as possible about what was done well, in the space available. Instead of writing “well done”, try something like “sounded out four-sound words well” or “read some two-syllable words without help” or “all words correct first go!”.

The smiley and frowny faces are for kids to colour in based on their opinion of the book they read. The child’s signature under “books read to me” allows them to give their busy parents/carers credit for finding time to read to them.

We originally expected this journal to be used for one school term’s worth of reading, so there are 11 reading diary pages (Australia has four school terms, each 9-11 weeks long), with room for five days’ reading on each page. There are five stars at the bottom of each page, for children to colour in as they hit their daily reading targets:

Five stars means you can give each other a big Hi 5 and move on. Milestones matter, and we don’t want anyone to feel that home-schooling is never done and becomes a chore.

On the facing page of each week’s reading journal is a word journal, where you can record interesting words you and your child find while reading. This has the following format:

Research by Frayer (1969) and others supports this type of vocabulary development activity, there’s more information about this here.

My Reading and Word Journal also contains brief, clear, evidence-based advice for parents on how to help their children with reading, for example:

If you’d like more detail on how to help children learn to read, Five From Five has just produced a webinar for parents on this topic. Sounds-Write also has a free online course for parents.

When printing My Reading and Word Journal, it’s best to use a printer that can print both sides, and has A5 booklet settings. These will vary from one printer driver to another, here’s mine:

If your printer can’t do this, perhaps your school or local stationery store has one that can.

Thanks so much to Tessa Weadman, Adrianna Galioto, Caitlin Stephenson and Renee Vlahos (Maria Narouz hadn’t started with us at that stage) for working on this booklet, it really has been a Spelfabet team effort. Sorry I couldn’t find time to make it available earlier in the year.

This booklet will be free till the end of June, by which time we hope the COVID-19 curve has been well and truly flattened and we can all stop washing our hands like maniacs and disinfecting every surface, and actually see our clients in person again (but hooray for telepractice, we’re discovering it works pretty well).

We hope you like our free booklet, and it helps motivate and document lots of really great reading in the difficult next few weeks or months. Click here to download it.


7 responses to “Free download: My Reading and Word Journal”

  1. Melinda Wilson says:

    Great resource.Thanks Alison.
    All the best of health to you, your team and families.

  2. chris.guy432 says:

    Thanks so much Alison another wonderful resource

  3. wwwcrosby says:

    Thanks so much everyone! A very useful resource at this challenging time.

  4. Caroline Carmody says:

    Alison, Thank you for sharing this, it’s wonderful! I can’t wait to share it with my clients.

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