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American Annals of the Deaf

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Literacy and Your Deaf Child: What Every Parent Should Know

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Another effective strategy for involving the family in writing is the use of journals. Children generally use these to write about daily happenings or any other topic they wish to record. Made-up stories and other imaginative writings have found their way into many a journal. We have also seen journals that were used to carry out a dialogue between father and child. Because children write more and write better when they have a real audience who is interested and eager to read what is written, the dialogue in the journal approach has much to commend it. One unusual but rewarding venture is described in the box titled, “Open Family Journal.”

Open Family Journal

An open family journal is simply a notebook in which each member of the family is free to add any comments they wish. It can be a story about someone else in the family.

      “I saw Peter talking to Sarah today. I think he likes her.”

      “Joni dove head first off a diving board for the first time ever. She landed on her belly and wouldn’t do it again.”

Or it can be about something that happened at school or work.

      “Today I got sent to the office for throwing an eraser. But I didn’t throw it. Nina did. But I didn’t tell.”

      “I got permission to take one week off work over the Easter holidays. I am going to take the family on a vacation to see the Ice Hotel in Quebec.”

Or it can be a poem, joke, wish list, or anything else. It can be as long or short as a person wants it to be. Everyone in the family is encouraged to write something, with few boundaries for prose other than those for excluding bad language and meanness. Pictures can also be placed in the journal. At some point, the journal can be read back with nostalgia, joy, and apprehension at family get-togethers.


Invented spelling refers to young children’s attempts to use their best judgments about spelling (e.g., kom for come, kort for caught, difrint for different) as they learn to write. Not only do many educators see invented spelling as a great help to the child wanting to write a message, but they also regard it as an important stage in spelling development because the characteristics of invented spelling change after exposure to standard spelling instruction. See box titled, “Invented Spelling,” for examples of how English lends itself to variations in spelling.

Invented Spelling

Der Prinnts,

Wen ur child brings riting home do not be serprized at the speling. Inglsh is confusing for students and insistints that they uz standurd speling can inhibit thair dezir to rite. We wll be using inventd speling in awer riting.

U can hlp by prazing thair wrk and hav them red thair riting to u. No that wen ur chld is mor famillyer with riting he or she will be tort to mak the tranzishun to standurd speling.

Thank U


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