Holiday Reading and Writing Journals

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Recently I found one of my old holiday journals. It is full of glued in Christmas cards, bus tickets, movie tickets, whinges and reflections on a family holiday, letters from friends on holidays (remember paper letters?) and chocolate wrappers…LOTS of chocolate wrappers, and look at the PRICE of chocolate back in 1988!


I loved keeping journals as a child and teen. I didn’t actually write great essays in them, but they are full of anecdotes, pictures, letters, cards and chocolate wrappers, and they are lovely to look back on. Don’t you just love that I stuck in my ‘Avid Reader Award’.

When I taught in the classroom I used to make holiday journals for students who were going on trips that would see them miss weeks of school. I also used to encourage my students to keep journals over the long Christmas holiday as it’s a great way of encouraging the daily habit of reading and writing in a fun and creative way.

The older cousins are off on a road trip, so their mum and I decided holiday journals would be a great idea. Of course PudStar then wanted one; what the cousins do she has to do.

These are pretty simple to make; we choose unlined notebooks as all the girls are lower primary and writing on lines is not necessary or ideal when practicing your writing skills. If your child is older, I’d choose a notebook which was blank one side, lined the other so there is room to write and room to stick things in and draw.

Each journal has the following pages:

  1. Title page – photograph or draw yourself and a title
  2. ‘Send a Postcard’ – with addresses of family and friends and some postage stamps in an attached envelope
  3. ‘Collage It!’ – a few pages to stick in movie tickets, wrappers, brochures etc
  4. ‘New Words’ – look out, listen out for new words each day and write them in your journal
  5. ‘My Christmas Presents’ – a page to list Christmas presents, who gave them to you and if you’ve thanked the gift giver
  6. ‘Holiday Planner’ printed from here
  7. ‘Packing List’ from here
  8. Lots of holiday journal pages which I printed from here, but you could make your own to suit the age of your child
  9. Lots of blank pages for drawing etc
  10. Doodle pages – I split a Doodle book I purchased at the art gallery between the three girls and stuck these in. I don’t like colouring books but I love Doodle books.
  11. Painting pages – the girls all love painting but paint sets are not great to take on holidays. We found some painting books which had the strip of paint at the top. Your own painting strips are super easy to make, but it’s nearly Christmas…too many other things to do! We do also have little tiny paint sets purchased from Lark which are perfect for taking away on holidays.

Coffee Shop Painting

The older cousins helped PudStar with some writing yesterday when we had an early Christmas lunch.

Holidays are a break from school, but daily reading and writing is a great part of life, an excellent habit to form and holiday journals are so lovely to look back on.

These are examples from the Doodle Books:

My 1988 journal has a John Farnham autograph, please forgive me.

I find the best way to use these is to set aside some time each day to journal – for me this is the afternoon when we’re all trying to have a break except PudStar WHO DOES NOT NEED BREAKS (sigh). Make it fun, make it easy and enjoyable and encourage them to see the importance of daily reading and writing.


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  1. Claire Howden on Dec 21, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Beautiful Megan! Thanks for reminding me of my own photo album journals. That is where I took my Christmas clues from! I also have hand written letters from my cousins in there. We used to camp in the same camping ground but get up really early to deliver mail to each other’s camp site. Not that we had anything to say since we spent all day and night together but good literacy skills in the making! I’m staying in the same park now and am filled with nostalgia every time I walk past ‘their’ site! Lovely memories!! I loved the sherbet bottles and extra long sherbet sticks but Wobbly chocolates were darn good too!!!

  2. Joanne on Nov 1, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    This is such a wonderful idea! I do it for my class, but never thought about Ellie! Am going to office works tomorrow! Might have another quick look on lark too!

    • Anonymous on Nov 5, 2013 at 8:42 pm

      Opps! Sorry re introducing you to Lark!!!! Ava LOVED her journal last year…and it’s weird being a teacher sometimes and having your own kids isn’t it?! The two are often so separate!!!!

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