Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Roller Coaster Reading

Last weekend we took our annual family trip to Branson, MO. My parents, my sister's family, and my family take a weekend trip and visit Silver Dollar City each year. I knew I had to have a great roller coaster book for this trip. I was so lucky to stumble onto this great recommendation from Love to Teach Reading and Writing during the #pb10for10 challenge earlier in the month.
Roller CoasterRoller Coaster by Marla Frazee is one of those books that you could pour over the pictures for a long while. The storyline focuses on a young girl who is tall enough to ride her very first roller coaster. The pictures tell the story of husky men who chicken out at the front of the line, a Grandma and Grandpa who throw their hands up and scream, and young and old who leave the roller coaster feeling dizzy. Each character in the line or on the roller coaster is well developed through art as the roller coaster dips and dives and spins through the air.
After reading the book, Logan got to ride a roller coaster!  Logan really wanted to ride a roller coaster that went upside down. Unfortunately  Fortunately, they don't make those for 40 inch tall boys! (I'm pretty sure Tyson would have hopped on board too.... fearless).
oops! I don't even have a picture of him on the roller coaster! Here are all my guys enjoying the frogs!

Once we got back home, Logan wouldn't stop talking about the roller coaster. I thought this high interest topic would be a great way to introduce his new journal. I purchased this spiral bound notebook with blank pages for our new school year but hadn't introduced it yet. Logan was chattering about Silver Dollar City on Monday, so I busted out the journal. We had a short conversation about the trip. I asked him, "What was your favorite part?" He said, "I like the roller coaster."
I showed him his journal at this point and asked him if he'd like to put a picture of his roller coaster in his journal. I wrote the date at the top of the page.As he drew his picture, he narrated his roller coaster experience.
Ps. Look at that, he tried to write his own name!! :)

When he was finished drawing, we had another conversation.
Me: Would you like me to write something down about your roller coaster.
Logan: Yes, write "I like roller coasters"
Me: Ok, I'm going to write it down here at the bottom. Let me show you were I am going to begin writing.
Logan: No,  I loved the roller coaster. That's what I want to say.
So that's what we wrote!

Journal writing can be a multi-level activity:
  • Toddlers can scribble on blank paper.
  • Preschoolers can draw a representational picture. While you can offer to write something down for them, preschoolers can also learn that their drawings can communicate messages too.
  • Older preschoolers can sometimes begin writing something down. Their early messages might not even look like they contain real letters.
  • Early readers can begin writing stories with invented spellings.
  • By the time your child becomes a proficient writer, he will be ready to be a proficient journal writer too!
There are some great tips in these articles at
Journal Writing with Toddlers- love the idea in this article "When my child has filled all of the pages of the journal, I write the end date.  The end of story."
Journal Writing with Preschoolers best advice? keep it simple, real, short, and fun!
Journal Writing with Kindergarteners- I couldn't agree more with this quote from the author, "At this early writing stage, conversation is key."
Journal Writing with First Graders- This is a great tip that Jeannie used with her son, "He wrote what he could and I jumped in and wrote the tricky parts."

Here's where I am linking this up:

It's Playtime at hands on : as we grow

Shibley Smiles

play academy


  1. Thanks for linking-up the journal writing posts. You know I share your passion for early literacy.

    Oh, how Logan's writing and illustration makes me smile! And him writing his name is the cherry on top. Love it. :)

  2. This is awesome! I love that he tried to write his name.

  3. Adam LOVES the Roller Coaster book as well.....

  4. This book looks awesome! Thanks for joining WMCIR and for the journal writing ideas. We tried to start a journal here several times, but somehow both of us fizzled after a couple days, because daughter perceives it as work, not fun.