How to Complete Journal Entries

No special training is needed to use this journal. Parents, professionals, orother special persons in a child's life are quite capable of offering guidance on this journey of self-observation. There is no lesson planning involved. You can just open the book and do it. The instructions for completing journal entries are brief and self-explanatory. All the pages share a common structure. As a child progresses to each level, the content of the entry is modified to redirect her/his attention. We suggest that a child contribute an entry at least once a week.

This journal is organized into four Levels. This design corresponds to the four terms of the academic year. Therefore, the SLP in the school setting could assign each Level to a term, evaluating a child’s performance accordingly. If a child requires much help completing journal entries, the SLP may elect to repeat the same level for more than one term. The entries in Level 1 are simple. Levels 2, 3, and 4 become more involved, demanding more careful thought and reflection. The SLP will decide how much to demand from each individual student. Of course, every child will vary in her/his willingness and ability to observe and describe speaking situations. We believe that every child can improve these skills.

Parents may proceed through this journal in a more spontaneous way. That is,they can stay at a specific Level for as long as they wish. Simply photocopy more pages of the Level at which you and your child are working. Parents may examine a very complex situation at Level 1. At the same time, they could be analyzing a relatively simple, everyday situation at Level 4.

The first entry is "Today's Date." This is the date that you are sitting with a child, talking about what to write, filling in the blanks on a journal entry page. Each page is filled out with information from a child. To encourage communication, establish a relaxed atmosphere. Respond to a child's ideas with nonjudgmental comments, such as "Oh." Ask open-ended questions, such as, "What else happened?" Let her/him see what you write. You may find an older child prefers to do the writing.

The first thing to record is a speaking Situation. The situation consists of People, Place, and Time. To help you get started, several options are listed on the left-hand side of the page. While you will offer these options for a child to consider, be careful not to put words in her/his mouth. Wait. Give a child time to think and volunteer information. We recommend that you record what a child tells you with a matter of fact and accepting attitude. Ask questions to elicit specific details. We think you will find that as the child clarifies the situation for you, she/he will also make important related comments. Record these on the back of each journal entry.

Remember that you are trying to learn as much as possible about a child asan individual. Then you can tailor your help to her/his very personal communication needs.

The next item to list is Speaker. Write the child's name in this space. One of the most important words for any child is her/his own name. Please do not write "you" in this slot. Write the child's name.

Write out Speaker's Words as if you were writing a screenplay. For example'. While trying to get a seat on a school bus, a child said, "C-c-can I sssssit here?" A bully stands up and pushes the child down the isle. Other children on the bus just watch, silently. The child feels afraid and embarrassed. She/he moves to another seat. A child's vocabulary will be important when role-playing situations while working on transference. Place quotation marks around a child's words. Quotation marks will emphasize the importance you place on what she/he has to say. You are looking for dialogue, emotion, and action.

Similarly, write the Listener’s Words/Reactions carefully and completely, placing dialogue in quotation marks. Listeners' reactions are a crucial piece of interpersonal communication. This is where you will learn how a child is perceiving people's reactions to his thoughts and his speech. Include a child's description of the listener's facial expressions, tone of voice, attitude, and anything else you/she/he feel may be relevant.

Your feelings are the child's feelings during the speaking situation. In Level1, only three simple feelings are listed on the left-hand side of the page. 0f course, if the child offers more complex adjectives for how she/he feels then go ahead and write them down. Unless you are a trained counselor, it is probably wise to simply acknowledge and record a child’s feelings. Interpretations, analysis, further probing into emotions is probably best left to a professional. It is included in this journal in order to discover when disfluency has been conditioned to occur in the context of selected emotions. This information becomes useful in designing a hierarchy of speaking tasks in which to practice speech therapy goals. Emotions are omitted on the Level 4 journal entry just to streamline the page. Go ahead and include emotional information if at all possible.

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