Nucleus of Life Journaling
Nucleus of Life (NOL) is committed to exposing young children to Gospel realities (see http://www.nucleusoflife.com). I utilize any good picture bible book for little ones to introduce them to the Gospel stories. The steps in the process are as follows:
1) Purchase some journal writing paper where there is space to draw a picture and lines for writing beneath it. I purchased Draw and Write Journals from http://www.lakeshorelearning.com/ item #RR630.
2) Read a Gospel story and afterwards, ask your preschooler what they would like to tell others about the story. If this is done repeatedly for each Gospel story you read, your child will begin to form their own good sentences. At first, mom may have to guide the child a little by asking questions like:
- Who are the characters in this story, or
- What happened in this story, or
- If a good friend asked you about this story - what would you tell them?
Mom should begin to pick out Subject Nouns and Verbs their preschooler can use in their sentences.
3) I then have my older daughter or myself draw a picture about the story using shapes. My preschooler colors the picture with minimal help from us. That is because he is slower at drawing than writing his letters. The more we draw pictures for him as he watches us, the better he will become at drawing himself. As we draw, we discuss the shapes we are using at the time. I used this approach with my older children and it worked very well. By the time they were in fourth grade, they were sketching their own pictures from various art books and drawing themselves in their journals without any help by first grade.
4) Next, use letter tiles to build your sentence. I purchased Teaching Tiles Learning System by http://www.educationalinsights.com/. Every small child loves to build. If your preschooler learns that words are built one letter at a time, they master the discipline of taking the time to think about what they need to write. In preschool, we can sound out the letter before it is shown to the child so they have to guess the correct letter before it is put on the display. As time progresses, new phonics rules are applied to more complicated sounds and digraphs. For example, my four year old knows what the silent E does now. He is now starting to read short simple sentences and stories.
5) After building with your Teaching Tiles, your preschooler copies the sentence you created on the display to the journal writing lines under your picture. Once again, letter sounds are spoken out loud so the child is continuously reinforced with proper pronunciation and spelling. If you can not afford the Teaching Tiles, this approach is still appropriate by writing out sentences and having your child 'fill in the blanks.' Be sure to have them copy over the entire sentence themselves into their journal though. This keeps their journal as a precious keepsake of their own work.
6) Please see this link to view pictures of my four year olds work in progress. Notice in the pictures that we are making 'sounds' with the letters we use to make words and form our sentences. I also had to guide Patrick on how to form some letters by having him 'follow my finger.' Now he can form all his letters by himself. http://ordainedpraise-homeschoolmom.blogspot.com/search/label/NOL-Patrick%27s%20Progress