Using Journals

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Writing in a journal is wonderful for kids of all ages. Even before they can write words, making a creative art journal is fun for them, and it a wonderful exercise in self-examination. After a bibliotherapeutic discussion, using journals to process the emotions of a session can be particularly helpful. It allows the participants time to assimilate the information, examine how they feel about the moments that transpired, and cathartically rid themselves of any leftover emotions dredged up by talking in a therapeutic situation.

Even without the bibliotherapy session it is a good practice, especially for gifted kids, to journal. Having a class or group session is a wonderful way to bring these children together. What Do We Do All Day has a wonderful listing of all sorts of ideas to get started, and for all ages. There are ideas for pre-writers, for science and poetry journals, and for how to make your own journal.

I have kept every journal I’ve ever written in, since the age of six or seven. Having these gems mean a lot to me, and it gives me a window into my childhood that is otherwise lost due to the mechanics of the mind. Especially as I got older, the diaries became more introspective. The thoughts that I wrote down were sometimes about dealing quietly with being different than other people, and when I felt that nagging alone feeling, I remember using those pages to write down what was going on with me, and it allowed me an outlet, a place to process overwhelming emotions. Much like finding my beloved fictional friend Meg Murray in A Wrinkle in Time, finding the cathartic activity of writing in my journal was immensely helpful to a struggling kid.

During your journal session, you can showcase titles about journals to give them an idea of how others have made use of the medium. Here are a few diaries for various age groups:

  1. Amelia’s Notebook by Marissa Moss (Grade 2-5)
  2. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison (Grades 4-8)
  3. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume (Grades 4-8)
  4. Artichoke Hearts by Sita Brahmachari (Grades 4-8)
  5. Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster (Grades 3-7)
  6. Dear Nobody by Berlie Doherty (Grades 4-8)
  7. Diary of a Killer Cat by Anne Fine (Grade 2-7)
  8. Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin (PreK-Grade 3)
  9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney (Grades 2-8)
  10. Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining by Anne Mazer (Grades 3-7)
  11. How to be Human: Diary of an Autistic Girl by Florida Frenz (Grades 1-7)
  12. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (Grades 4-8)
  13. Journal of Douglas Allen Deeds: The Donner Party Expedition, 1846 by Rodman Philbrick (Grades 2-5)
  14. Maggie Moore and the Secret School Diary by Firna Rex Shaw (Grades 4-7)
  15. Max’s Logbook by Marissa Moss (Grades 2-5)
  16. Rose’s Journal: The Story of a Girl in the Great Depression by Marissa Moss (Grade 3-5)
  17. Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman (Grades 4-8)
  18. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (Grade 6-12)
  19. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (Grades 4-8)
  20. The Private Notebook of Katie Roberts, Age 11 by Amy Hest (Grades 4-7)
  21. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend (Grades 4-8)
  22. Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien (Grades 4-8)

 

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