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Must-have skill for children #9: journaling
Children can have a hard time putting their thoughts to words, and this can get even trickier as they experience new things as a teenager. However, there is a great method for building up their communication skills and helping them understand themselves. That method is journaling daily, which can contribute to your child’s academic and personal growth! The benefits make it more than just a hobby—it’s a lifelong skill your child must-have. Journaling isn’t to be confused with a diary, which is more about documenting days and specific events. A journal is about exploring thoughts, ideas, emotions. Both can be great for your child to keep, but journaling daily can specifically boost your child’s life in two major ways: Greater Performance and Results Director Julia of the JEI Learning Center in Livingston says, “Clear writing is clear thinking, so the better they can express themselves, the better they can share their ideas, opinions, and arguments. Good writing skills leave a lasting impact on children’s self-learning, school performance, and career.” A couple of experiments have proven just that. "The University of Toronto asked students to reflect on their past, discover what motivates them, and envision the future through writing. As a result, the number of dropouts at the school went down while the number of goals students reached went up. In another experiment, senior engineers who had been laid off formed an expressive writing group, which was tasked with writing about their feelings on losing their job and looking for a new one in a journal. They wrote 20 minutes daily for five days. After three months, more than 26% of the writing group and less than 5% of the control group engineers who did not journal were employed full-time. After eight months, the numbers increased to more than 52% and less than 19% respectively. These experiments prove that expressive writing can improve the quality of life and likelihood of success! Therefore, your child should organize their thoughts and visualize a course of action through the daily practice of journaling. Improved Mental and Physical Health Journaling daily is also a way to relieve stress. Because the senior engineers in the previous experiment did this, they gained clarity and applied to jobs more effectively. It is important to give your child some quiet time to write so they can understand and validate their feelings. Then, your child can grow and move on from negative feelings as well as take notice of and appreciate positive ones. Better mental health also results in better physical health. Psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker asked patients to write for 20 minutes for three days about their stress. Four months later, 47% of them saw health improvements as opposed to only 24% of those in the control group, who wrote about their day like a diary. Pennebaker saw that journaling helped reduce and manage stress, which then helped the physical body heal faster and work better. School can be a very stressful time for your child, which can result in lethargy, digestive problems, headaches, and other ailments. An outlet like a journal can help them stay mentally and physically healthy by keeping them company and soothing them everyday! — Now that you are aware of the benefits, you can try to encourage journaling by adding it to your child’s daily routine. They can write “morning pages,” meaning that one of the first things they do in their day is write out all their thoughts, or they can keep a journal by their bed as part of their nighttime routine. Buy your kid some fun notebooks and pens to up their excitement! Also, assure them that this is their private journal, so no one else will read their entries. Prompts are a great way to start the thinking process, so your child can try these: 1). What is one area of your life that you would like to improve in? 2). Why is personal growth so important to you? 3). What is one way you have grown over the past year, and how did you accomplish this? 4). What are 10 things that make you happy, and how can you experience these moments more frequently? 5). Imagine that you are talking to your younger self. What recent accomplishment would make your younger self the most proud? Introspection is incredibly important for success, so start your child on this path of self-discovery as early as possible. Encourage your child to use their journaling skill daily so they can learn about themselves and fly toward a brighter future. For even greater results and for more goal orientation, pair journaling daily with creating a vision board, then watch your child shine! To further improve your child’s journaling experience, they can practice writing vividly through our Common Core-aligned JEI Reading & Writing and JEI English programs. Contact your local JEI Learning Center today to learn more!
Insightful books for second and third graders
Your child might think they’re stuck at home right now, but they can actually open portals to many different worlds with the power of reading! Reading is an important pastime for your child to adopt and grow to love as early as possible. Books not only entertain and keep your child company but they also educate and improve traits like creativity, empathy, and comprehension. The characters become their friends, mentors, and role models, passing on life lessons and morals that help your child grow into the best version of themselves. The books listed below are excellent reads for your second or third grader! If your child is showing some hesitation, here are some ways you can encourage and excite them: • read aloud to them every night (and leave off right when things get interesting), • give rewards for how many books they read in a week, • draw scenes from the book with them to bring characters to life, or • plan a fun movie night for when they complete the book version! Now let’s get started. Check out these fun reads below for your second or third grader: The Magic Paintbrush | Laurence Yep Shen has a magic paintbrush that allows her paintings of fish and oysters to come to life. When an emperor hears of her gift, he demands she paint gold for him instead. How can she keep her promise to paint for the betterment of the poor? Boxcar Children | Gertrude Chandler Warner The Aldens are four orphaned children who begin their adventure by making a home in a boxcar. Their goal is to stay together no matter what. Here’s the twist, while making sure they are not separated, they find their grandfather. Cam Jansen and the Chocolate Fudge Mystery | David A. Adler Super sleuth Cam Jansen and her friend Eric uncover a mystery while selling candy door- to-door. Why is there a full trash can outside a supposedly deserted house? Cam uses her photographic memory to get to the bottom of this enigma! Charlotte’s Web | E.B. White Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte’s Web, high up in Zuckerman’s barn. Charlotte’s spider web tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter. The Hundred Dresses | Eleanor Estes At the heart of the story is Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl in a Connecticut school who is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. Wanda claims she has one hundred dresses at home, but everyone knows she doesn’t and bullies her mercilessly. The class feels terrible when Wanda is pulled out of the school, but by that time, it’s too late for apologies. Maddie, one of Wanda’s classmates, ultimately decides that she is never going to stand by and say nothing again. Who Was Dr. Seuss? | Janet Pascal Theodor Seuss Geisel loved to doodle from the time he was a kid. He had an offbeat, fun-loving personality. He often threw dinner parties, where guests had to wear outrageous hats! He donned quirky hats when thinking up ideas for books like his classic The Cat in the Hat. This biography, with black-and white illustrations throughout, brings an amazingly gifted author/illustrator to life. - These books are fun and engaging with great life lessons for your child, whether it’s about standing up for others or helping the community. They’re informational (Who doesn’t want to learn all about Dr. Seuss?) and touching (No one tugs at the heartstrings quite like Charlotte does). These books are also part of our JEI Reading & Writing program, which helps children who want to improve their reading comprehension as well as children at advanced levels who just can’t get enough. To make the most of this reading list, sign your child up at your nearest center! We are currently continuing our State Standard-aligned curriculum through JEI Remote Learning, so even at home, your child can continue to learn and grow. Reach out today and start your child on "A Better Life Through Better Education". Happy readings!
JEI Livingston dominates JEI Essay Contest with determination and encouragement
The JEI Learning Center in Livingston, NJ is home to the most JEI Essay Contest winners of 2019. Director Julia Guo explains how she runs her center with dedication, motivation, and encouragement so that students can strive to be their best selves. At our JEI Learning Centers, the greater trend seems to be a focus on math skills, with hundreds more of our students turning out for the Math Olympiad than the Essay Contest every year. You may wonder why a director coming from a science background diverged from this trend to produce the most JEI Essay Contest winners out of all the centers, but that is exactly what this director did. Director Julia Guo of the Livingston Center came to the United States 32 years ago, graduated with a PhD in Biology at New York University, did her postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, worked as a Senior Scientist at Merck for ten years, and conducted research at a New York hospital for another eight years before opening her JEI center in 2014. With this track record, you may be surprised to hear Julia’s center has the most students enrolled in the JEI Reading & Writing program, yet this is the fifth Essay Contest in a row in which she had not only the most participants but also the most winners. Guo explained in an interview with JEI: “As a research scientist with a PhD, I realized how important writing and presentation skills are in career development, so I decided to focus on improving students’ writing skills as the primary goal of the center. Good reading and writing skills build students’ self-confidence. Writing is essential for every subject students take in middle school, high school, and college. Clear writing is clear thinking, so the better they can express themselves, the better they can share their ideas, opinions, and arguments. Good writing skills leave a lasting impact on children’s self-learning, school performance, and career.” To achieve her goal, Guo conducted an extensive search to hire the best teachers she could find, then collaborated with them to perfect coaching strategies. Guo advises other centers and parents alike to enroll students in both JEI English and JEI Reading & Writing together to build a strong Language Arts foundation with grammar, vocabulary, syntax, and sentence composition. She likened the process to becoming a great chef: while JEI English is all about perfecting the skills and gathering the right ingredients, JEI Reading & Writing is about putting those together to actually cook the meal. She also said that students should read many books, start to study writing as early as the second grade, and practice daily because strong writing skills take years to hone. On average, Guo said she saw students make the most significant growth after they were in both programs for two years, recalling one particular fourth grader who struggled for a year and nine months before it clicked and she started to write beautiful essays. All of her Essay Contest winners were long-term students who had been with her for three to five years. The best thing about the JEI Self-Learning MethodⓇ is that all of her students will continue perfecting their writing skills and learning for life, even after graduating from JEI programs. Because it can take some time to produce results, it is natural for students to grow disheartened and want to give up, but Guo has a remedy for that, too: “When students struggle, I always encourage them, saying that it takes a while, and at the end, they will do a great job. I constantly speak with many students one on one to encourage and coach them to stay positive, persistent, and enthusiastic. I know that each student will improve no matter what.” She also emphasized the importance of spending time with the children’s parents, so they understand the process and how long it may take. When students start doing well, Guo does not let them grow complacent. They move on to the next level when ready, and this involves higher expectations and more personalized essay feedback. All of this has led to more confident, knowledgeable students as well as grateful parents who tell her that their children participate more in school and love to learn. Guo gets all of her JEI Reading & Writing students involved in the annual JEI Essay Contest, even if they aren’t participating. She incorporates that year’s writing prompts into classes and even hosts workshops and celebratory events which help to boost morale and confidence throughout her center. During the annual awards ceremony, students present on the importance of writing, encouraging other students to want to be more active and engaged in writing and academics. One student’s 4-year-old sibling even said, “I want to do better. I can do that!” Guo added, “Besides the annual JEI Essay Contest, I have encouraged and arranged for students to submit to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. I will continue to devote my effort to encourage students to participate in other writing contests to get national recognition for their writing skills.” She is seeing great success so far! Livingston student and Essay Contest winner, Joyce He, placed Silver for the Scholastic national writing competition. Many other students of Guo have also placed gold, silver, and honorable mention in regional and national levels for this competition. Guo’s strategy and beliefs about encouragement, persistence, and daily practice are in complete alignment with JEI Learning Center’s philosophy for all students. We again congratulate Guo and the students at Livingston for performing well and challenging themselves through the Essay Contest. We extend these congratulations to all the centers and students who put their best foot forward in their journey toward lifelong learning. Want your child to improve as much as Guo’s students have? Look for a JEI Learning Center near you for our State Standards-aligned programs and annual competitions. Your child could be the next JEI Essay Contest winner with the hard work and skills we pass onto all of our students!