Topic | Book of Mottoes

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  • Jamie

    I noticed in 7th grade that Simply CM suggests the student begin a Book of Mottoes.  Any suggestions or advice for how to implement this into my child’s daily routine this school year?

    Sonya Shafer

    First suggestion: Schedule an outing with the child. Stop at a favorite cafe for a bit and introduce the idea of the Book of Mottoes, discuss what it is, and mention some of the benefits of keeping one. Present the book as a practice that indicates a rite of passage into a grown-up’s activity. Maybe show the child your own Book of Mottoes/Commonplace Book and briefly share how it has enriched your own life. Then go shopping for a special journal of the child’s choice.

    Second suggestion: Try to think of the Book of Mottoes as a helpful life habit that you want to instill in your child, rather than a school assignment that must be completed. To that end, you’ll want to demonstrate how to cull inspiring quotes from books you are reading and you’ll want to have a regular check-in time (for a while) to see what quotes or passages the child has copied into the journal and encourage continuation.

    So perhaps when you are doing a family read aloud, you will have your radar tuned for any potential quotes. After the reading is finished, you might take the child aside and point that sentence or passage out as a potential, always deferring to the child’s decision of what to include in the journal. Or perhaps you might scan a book that the child will be reading independently and include any potential passages that you find as part of your time together narrating and discussing.

    To encourage the habit, you might do a check-in every couple of weeks to make sure the child is growing in understanding what kinds of things to include and is making use of the journal to create a personal collection of inspiring quotes culled from great books.

    Keep in mind that it will be a gradual process for some children; others will take to it like a duck to water. So use the Book of Mottoes as an opportunity to knit your hearts together over great words that communicate great ideas.


    That is beautiful Sonya. Thank you for that. It sounds like your personal Book of Mottoes is a much loved friend.




    Sonya – Wow!!  You never cease to amaze me with your ideas + gentle approach to learning.  Thank you so much for this insight.  ❤️❤️❤️


    Are there any suggestions for favorite Book of Mottoes buying options?  Or is this normally a lined journal?


    It can be any notebook, but I do not use a composition or spiral notebook. I really think that a special, nice lined journal is so helpful to instill neat, careful handwriting with appropriate thoughts to be copied. It does not have to expensive – we just use the pretty lined journals from Walmart that have a book mark in them. I think my personal one cost about $10 and my daughter’s were about $7. A special pen just for the Book of Mottoes (aka Commonplace Book) makes it feel like a treat. =)

    I am more than halfway through mine after about 3 years (and I am behind in my entries) but I can tell you it really is like having a sweet, wise, sometimes funny friend close by.


    We’re actually making our own books for it. You sew them together with dental floss and make cardboard and fabric covers. I’m hoping they will be even more treasured after all the work of making them ourselves.

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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