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Lesson Plan

Have Journal...Will Travel: Promoting Family Involvement in Literacy

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Have Journal...Will Travel: Promoting Family Involvement in Literacy

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Recurring Lesson
Estimated Time 5-7 minutes per session
Lesson Author

Devon Hamner

Devon Hamner

Grand Island, Nebraska


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Students take turns taking home a book bag that includes a stuffed toy, a book to read with their families, art supplies, a topic to discuss, and a journal to complete as a family. The students then return the bag the following day and share their entries with the class. After every student has taken the bag home, the journal is bound into a book for the classroom library. The teacher then selects a new topic and book to start a second rotation. The goal is to invite parents to join their children in these literacy activities.

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List of Suggested Books: This booklist includes tips for choosing quality books for a take-home literacy activity, as well as several examples of appropriate books.

Listening and Speaking Rubric: Students can use this rubric to self-assess any activity that requires speaking to the class and listening as classmates speak.

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In her book Radical Reflections, Mem Fox states: "I'm certain that learning to read and learning to love reading owe a great deal (much more that we ever dreamed) to the nature of the human relationships that occur around and through books. If we could sneak into the homes of avid readers, I think we'd discover very often that the comfortable relationship between an older reader and a younger reader during the shared reading of a mutually loved book might be a key factor in the child's success." (136)

Engaging families in literacy activities can help foster this love of reading. Charlene Endrizzi urges, "When family-school partnerships are perceived as opportunities for families and teachers to learn together deliberately, they transform parent-teacher interactions. Each September, as teachers... recognize the need to respect a child's years of learning beyond their classroom, they intentionally set out to build bridges and work to unite community, home, and school learning experiences." (18)

This lesson offers one way to build a bridge between the home and school learning experience, through a fun, take-home literacy activity.

Further Reading

Mem Fox. 1993. Radical Reflections: Passionate Opinions on Teaching, Learning, and Living. Harcourt Brace & Company.


Endrizzi, Charlene Klassen. 2008. Becoming Teammates: Teachers and Families as Literacy Partners.  Urbana, IL: NCTE.

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