Author’s Journal

A Writer’s Journal – encouraging children to work as authors

The Author’s Journal helps to develop a set of unique, independent writers in any Key Stage One or Two classroom. With its structured, ordered contents, pupils can easily find where to add their own ideas or ones they have magpied from other areas.

Linking directly with the National Curriculum, this journal encourages editing and redrafting alongside using reading to develop writing skills, and so teaches the pupils to become independent writers for both class work and assessed writing.

With an ever-increasing focus on teaching vocabulary skills as a key element to not only developing writing skills but for comprehension skills too, this journal will support a vast amount of acquired words and phrases in a context unique to each child and their own preferences.

It is beneficial to be used in both reading and writing lessons, so that the pupils can make those links with their learning to improve their skills as reading as a writer and writing for a reader.

Please watch the videos and download the PDF below for more information:

Key Stage One video

Key Stage Two video

Author's Journal KS1 and KS2 presentation Click the link for a KS1 and KS2 PDF of Information on our Author's Journals.

 

Testimonials:

Author's Journals

 

In a bid to improve writing across the curriculum, and for students to realise that what they learn in English lessons applies in all other subjects, we launched Authors' journals in KS2 this year. The students have been very enthusiastic about them and feel that they are a special tool to help them 'write better'. Staff are encouraged to use them to 'bank' subject-specific vocabulary as well as log ideas from the text which they are reading at the time. It encourages the discussion of word classes - so we've moved from 'that's a nice word to use in our writing' to 'ooh, that adjective is impressive, let's log it in the adjectives for character's hands page'. The discussion when reading texts is fueling our grammatical understanding and prompting the students to use the correct terminology. 

Within the English lessons, the journals are always out on the table and on hand for students to log any vocabulary they wish to log. They will then refer to that vocabulary when writing. Some of the students have taken to taking their journals home and adding to them when reading at home. At parent's evening, many parents noted the use of the journals and asked questions regarding what they could do to help their children use them. These journals have become as important to the English lesson as the use of a dictionary or thesaurus and are an effective and valued tool. The biggest stipulations we've put on the students is that they must understand the vocabulary they are logging and they must spell it correctly. I've even made it into a game when I give the students 2 minutes of investigation time to bank synonyms or fronted adverbials for where. They love it! 

Our Headteacher has promoted the use of the journals across the school by setting a competition to see which English teacher has the best-used set of journals, as well as which subject. The students are very competitive with this and are nagging their teachers to bank more vocabulary so that they can use it in their writing. The next competition will incorporate a tally of who has used what the most - we haven't yet ironed this out, but it's another fun way to encourage the use of the journals. 

Pupil voice : 

It helps with all the lessons with the words I have to know" and 'it helps with the cold writing task - we've got the words there to use'. It 'also helps me with getting the spellings right'. 'It helps with reading as it shows me a variety of language'. 

 

Finally, the useful writing mats at the back of the journal and the spelling logs for words I have learned but I still have to practise is a great way to promote student independence in learning. They are logging their own specific developments within spelling and writing and they are becoming more resilient and independent students.

I am really excited to see how the first schools are using them and also what they look like when the Year 4's move up to us in Year 5.  My impression is that they can't help but have a positive impact. 

One top tip is most definitely personalize them - we designed a front cover to go on them and they look stunning. Equally, the students can see that it's been personalized just for them and they've shown great pride in their journals. 

Alison Gutteridge 

Head of English 

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  • Throughout the Key Stage, Author's Journals encourage our children to investigate language by giving them a space to record unfamiliar words that they can use in their own written work
  • Crucial to achieving Greater Depth in Y6, Author's Journals focus children to think clearly about how they can emulate authors and hone technique.
  • Author's Journals encourage children to think critically about what they are reading by identifying what makes something a successful piece of writing (both in terms of language and overall structures).

Mr Paul Newton,

Year 6 teacher,

Chancel Primary School,

Rugeley

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Key Stage One (lasts for 2 years -Y1 and Y2), Key Stage Two (lasts for 4 years - Y3 to Y6)  and the First School version (lasts for 4 years - Y1 to Y4) are all available.

Price: £3.50 each.

Click on the covers to access the shop.

Please contact us at editor@theteachhub.co.uk to order more than a single copy.