Jotting something down is a useful habit. It helps us remember something that may get lost in distractions if we don’t make note of it. Jotting also is terrific for helping children understand the WHY of self-created pictures and words.
Think about the children and even adults who constantly forget to do their chores, remember a social event, put things away, etc. It might not be mission critical stuff, but it can be important. Jotting notes-to-self helps us remember the seemingly endless list of things to do.
Adults often have little notepads that fit in our pockets, purses, bags or backpacks. Or we use the note feature on our phones. Why? Because we know darn well that if we don’t capture something RIGHT NOW that we’ll forget it.
Taking notes is one of the easiest and actually delightful literacy lessons that we can teach little children. Learning to jot builds an essential foundation for early literacies: personal sketching, writing and reading. That’s because jotting meets a personal need to remember, and helps children get a stronger hold on their own responsibilities along with their random musings.
Little kids love to have a special something in their pocket to share with their friends and family. If one of those somethings is a little pad with a small writing device, then even preschoolers can enjoy drawing or primitively writing things they might need or wish to remember. We adults can model this habit for our kids several times every day to promote their appreciation of the power of sketching, writing and reading. For the smallest children, jotting instills essential conceptions of literacy: We write things to remember them. We write things to share them with others.
Jotting is the perfect, always there, literacy experience, and it is never too early to help a child appreciate and adopt easy ways to record something for later. Adults just need to clearly show kids how and why we jot and encourage them to try it, too:
- “We need to get a birthday gift for your friend. Put that on your list for us to do.”
- “Will you remember to feed the cat tonight? Better write it down.”
- “Oh, Grandpa will love to hear about that! Make a little drawing to help you share it when you see him.”
Of course, early on, kids will surely lose that first tablet or the pencil, so have a backup stash and sufficient patience. Also remember that the gentle teaching of jotting represents a powerful everyday reading and writing lesson which can grow to become an essential lifelong literacy habit.