Journal topics that keep preteens interested and busy during the summer include those with which they can connect, places they have visited, books they have read, events that happened and experiments they have tried. These are all possible topics that interest students of that age. Be sure to add a reward system to give them a further incentive to want to journal.
To keep preteens interested, parents and teachers need to ask the children what they want to write about. Let them make suggestions and allow them to pick and choose what they want to journal. Preteens like contests and getting rewards. The rewards do not have to cost money. A day spent with the winner of the contest doing their favorite things could serve a meaningful reward for a preteen. Educators can use a question and answer format to help grab the interest of children. Know the child and let the child’s interests guide the way to journaling.
Vacations make excellent topics for preteens to share. Journaling helps kids remember the trips that they went on with their family. If the preteen goes to summer camp, that is another topic that they can write about. Even a visit to a relative can spark topics. Have the children tell what happened, whom they saw, what they did. Remind them to include dates and even have them take or draw pictures to go with the journal item.
Many preteens love to read so writing reports about favorite books are sure to spark a preteen’s interest. Girls especially read a lot during the summer and journaling what they read will help them remember the story as well improve comprehension. Have the child record the author’s name, the date the child finished the book, a favorite character or scene.
Teachers or parents can suggest simple science experiments and have students journal the results. Cooking experiments also provide information that preteens can use again to learn how to become better cooks. Writing about what happened in an experiment and what to do to improve it, make interesting topics.
Another fun journal topic is to write about a birthday party or concert that the child attended. How many people attended? What surprises occurred? What concert did they see? Did the child give a performance?
Preteens do not like to share their thoughts and often may see reading a journal as prying into their lives. Allow children to share informally and privately or not at all. Learn what they journaled by talking about the topic. When choosing the topic, make sure to keep the level that the child shares in mind. Make the questions experience-based and not intuitive. For some children, asking the question, “How did you like a trip?” could cause a preteen to not want to journal at all.
Preteens have lots of things happening in their lives. Use those things to help them journal and see how fun it is to read about it later on. To keep their interest, have them re-read their journal every month to show them the fun of journaling.