My school girl was following me around a little lost and bored yesterday morning so I decided to give her a project to do. I suggested she make a book about 10 things she has enjoyed doing over her holidays.
She was very keen, so to get her started, we sat down together and made a list of 10 things she had done and really enjoyed. I wrote the list so I could help spell tricky words like "Aquarium" and "Federation Square", but I deliberately did it in note form so she would have to think through how to construct sentences when she came to write the book (this is something she has done at school and is quite capable of).
Next, we downloaded the photos we have taken over the last couple of weeks. She chose her favourites and I copied them onto a word document, making each photo passport size.
Then I stapled together 6 pages of white A4 paper that I folded in half, and left her to her own devices. She collected up her own glue, scissors and textas and set herself up to work at the kitchen table.
I was doing some work around the house, so I was at hand if she needed help with spelling or when she took a break to show me what she had done, but for the most part, she worked on her own for a good couple of hours.
Putting together a book like this is a great way to practice literacy skills in a nonthreatening, fun way. It's also a great opportunity for self-reflection and when the task is completed, it provides a sense of mastery which boosts self-esteem. It also kept Em absorbed and occupied for over 2 hours which not only helped develop her memory and concentration, but also gave me some time to get a few things done.