Sunday, November 1, 2015

Friendship Notebooks – A Fun Way for Kids to Practice their Reading and Writing Skills

If you were in middle school in the 80s or 90s then you probably remember Slam Books.  They were books, usually spiral notebooks that got passed around among friends, a way to pass notes and letters in between classes.  The covers were usually decorated with artwork and stickers.   I remember looking forward to writing to my best friend and would eagerly wait for her reply.  I think some Slam Books unfortunately were negative, they were used to gossip about other classmates, but the one I shared with my friend was positive.  We would write about our interests, share secrets, mostly we would talk about our favorite show…Beverly Hills 90210, and the actors we had crushes on!  

My 90s Crush!

My fond memory of writing and reading letters with my friend inspired me to create something I call “Friendship Notebooks” for my children.  I shared the idea with them, they loved it, and so we moved forward with it.  We asked another family who has children around the same age as mine if they would be interested in doing this with us, and they said yes!  

Our Friendship Notebooks

We purchased a couple of spiral notebooks, stapled some construction paper to the cover, and had the children decorate it with artwork.  We paired up the children, my oldest shares a notebook with the oldest in the other family, and my younger twins share a notebook with the youngest in the other family.  It has been a fun way for my oldest to practice her cursive writing, and for my younger ones to practice their print.   They also add artwork at the end of each letter, a drawing or something creative.  The children practice spelling, reading, and writing through their “Friendship Notebooks”, but even more importantly they are learning about their friends, asking questions they may otherwise not ask in person.  They are building relationships and learning how to write letters, a bit of a lost art.   

"Friendship Notebooks" are so simple and fun.  Pair up with another family that lives close by or one that you see often in order to make the exchange easy.  It’s like a pen pal but there’s something fun about having the notebook that you pass back and forth with friends that you get to see and connect with.

What other fun ways do you engage your children in reading and writing?