Literacy Tips in the Family Garden: Part 3

To be honest, Tip #3 could just as easily be Tip #1.5. But because writing is a distinct – and critical – literacy skill, I opted to highlight its value as its own step in your family garden activity.

From the beginning, you’ve been writing as you go: plans, checklists, store lists, etc. It was a natural part of the process, and that is what makes it so awesome. It is modeling at its best: using a required skill for daily life.

There is no one-size-fits-all journal. You might use yours like a diary, but here are five other ways that a gardening journal can be fun and helpful.

  • literacy activity writingAs a calendar or appointment book for ongoing tasks: Mom weeds on Wednesday, Sally waters on Friday.
  • As a photo album, capturing your moments of being and working together.
  • As a sketchbook for drawing anything (not just gardening).
  • As a recipe collection with ideas for family meals using your homemade ingredients.
  • As a weather almanac to record temperatures, rainfall, storms, weather conditions. 
  • As a plant record for next year: what plants thrived, which ones survived, which ones didn’t make it.

The last two items in particular are great for kids who love – or don’t know they love – science. Showing kids how other school subjects are relevant to daily life can save you from the “why do I have to learn this” later.

The most important tip for the project is to have fun! It’s not about the type of garden or the size, it is all about being together. 

Spending quality time with our children is not only special for us, but it creates indelible memories for them. These are the things that our kids remember and seek to replicate with their own children someday. 

We chose a garden, but you can “harvest” literacy from any kind of project where everyone in the family can participate.  By doing something as a family, adults have the opportunity to model how literacy skills fit into daily life without having to label it. These five items each represent at least one aspect of literacy.

garden with kids tips

  • Talking, singing, and laughing together? Literacy skill (communication)
  • Teaching someone to use a tool? Literacy skill (logical thinking, communication)
  • Persuading someone to include your flower recommendation? Literacy skill (persuasion, logical thinking, communication)
  • Deciding on and following recipes? Literacy skill (reading)
  • Inventories and checklists? Literacy skill (writing, logical, and analytical thinking)
    middle grade garden book

ECHO MOUNTAIN by Lauren Wolk. Be prepared to sit a spell as you soak in this lovely historical fiction story of family, friendship, and discovering your true self. Gardening nexus: growing and using natural remedies.
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PRAIRIE EVERS by Ellen Airgood. Engaging characters and honest narratives combine in this beautiful, wholesome coming of age story. Gardeningnexus: Prairie is raising chickens.
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THE YEAR OF THE GARDEN by Andrea Cheng, illustrated by Patrice Barton. This is the prequel to THE YEAR OF THE BOOK, a middle-grade series.
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Links to the full series Literacy Tips in the Family Garden