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Story

Summer journals and experience books: Horseback riding

Create lasting memories with journaling and/or emerging/early reader books about your child!

There is a special bond between little girls and horses: being astride a large gentle animal, swaying rhythmically from side to side, hearing the clomp-clomp of the hoofbeats, and a gentle pat on the horse’s soft neck creates a soul-deep connection. Addyson’s mom captured these moments in pictures and TVI Andrea created a very special emerging reader book called Horseback Riding.

Summer experience books for emerging/early readers

Summer is the perfect time to capture and immortalize family vacations and summer activities. In a world where cell phones capture all these special moments, it is a simple process to take these photos and create simple books for emerging and early readers. Kids love to read about themselves!

I challenge you, parents, to create books over the summer about your child and things that interest your child. Take those pictures/videos of the summer vacation, the family backyard BBQ, game night, catching frogs by the lake, swimming, riding a horse and your child’s favorite activity and turn them into an ePub book! Record your child talking about the pictured activity and include that recording on that page. If your child uses or will use a screen reader, be sure to add alt text to the photos in your book.

Summer experience journals

Is your child older than an emerging or early reader? No problem! Ask your child to write about the event and then create a “chapter” book. Books with a sentence or two per page can be created using a book application (such as Book Creator). For longer chapter books, try using a book template in Pages, Google Docs or Word. Pages (Apple’s version of a word document) has numerous book templates, including “basic” and “story” templates for younger students, and comprehensive book templates in portrait and landscape views for hard-core writers.

Another wonderful summer activity for kids is to keep a journal. Journaling is a terrific way for kids to process feelings, build writing skills, and communicate their ideas. Summer is a perfect time to start a journal! When journaling, your child can choose the traditional writing method (typing on a keyboard) or simply use dictation. The main goal is for the child to express the information. Encourage the child to find a comfy spot (in the hammock, curled up in a reading nook or on a bunch of pillows) and then let those words tumble out!

Note: When using dictation, remember that there is a limited amount of time that is available to record. The child may need to stop and start the recording for longer passages. Dictation also requires that the student say the punctuation. Example: Say the word, “period”, at the end of the sentence.

Diary Apps: There are a number of diary apps for kids including engaging apps geared for younger kids. Many of the diary apps engage students with drawing/creating digital images, which unfortunately are not accessible with a screen reader. Check out these popular diary apps if your student has functional vision. These apps also provide stimulating story prompts that encourage students to write on a variety of topics. If you have found an accessible diary app, let us know!

Parent journals

YOU can also jump on the journal bandwagon! Write a digital journal about family activities and vacations that can be shared in the future when your child is older. Who doesn’t love a stroll down memory lane?! Modeling writing/journaling is an opportunity for parents to show that writing/reading is an integeral part of life. Set aside some quiet time where your child can “read” his/her experience books (or journal at his/her level) while you sit nearby and create your own journal about your child!. Journaling is a terrific way to save those special memories about your child; you – and your child – will savor those journals later!

By Diane Brauner

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