Writing Journals – sometimes called Author’s Notebooks are vocabulary books in which children can capture gorgeous language that they can use again and again in the stories and texts that they write. They are a type of personal thesaurus that children can refer to, supporting all forms of writing.
Usually an A4 book, children have their own Writing Journal from Year 2 upwards. In Reception they will have a whole class teacher-led journal to model the process of capturing language. In Year 1 they tend to have one Writing Journal per table – usually a big book such as a scrap book which teachers and teaching assistants scribe into. All teachers will also have their own journal for modelling how to select and use vocabulary effectively. This could be a large book such as a scrap book or art book - some teachers prefer to use an exercise book (the same as the children’s) and pop it on the visualiser. Each section could have images either printed or cut from magazines/holiday brochures with vocabulary added around the images as a memory hook.
Year 2 Example
In Year 2 a Writing Journal may have the following sections for collecting transferable words and phrases:
In Key Stage 2 there are usually additional sections which are more detailed and child initiated so not every journal looks the same. More detailed generic language banks for KS2 (as described for Year 2) are also useful. The descriptions and language collected will depend on the texts taught and children’s interests. Examples include:
Section for character, for example -
Section for settings, for example -
Section for Non Fiction, for example -
Persuasive devices e.g. Many people believe…, Despite much evidence that convinces us otherwise…
Generate language through:
To find out more about how to use Writing Journals, book your free place on our training session!