Journals can have a two-fold purpose: they hold wonderful memories that can be enjoyed many years later, and they can give a large boost to a child's reading and writing skills. With first or second graders, start out slowly. Encourage them to get in the habit of writing one sentence each day, and they may surprise you by completing entire pages when they're interested in the topic. You can help get the creative ball rolling by suggesting they tell about their day, a favorite animal, or one of their friends. Encourage the older child to not only write down activities, but feelings and emotions as well. Even preschoolers can keep a journal by drawing or cutting out a magazine picture to tell about their day. Since kids like colorful possessions, you might want to buy a notebook with a bright cover as well as a new pen. Somehow, journal writing is more fun when you have a special book and pen.

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