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Arrrgh! Do I Have to Keep a Journal?

Yes, you do. :) The first assignment I give all of my language arts students is journal writing. Journal writing is a great way for a student to improve their writing and spelling skills and expand their vocabulary. I often say, "Why use a 25 cent word when you know $1.00 words? " (And if you don't know any $1.00 words, then it's time you become acquainted with a dictionary--I STILL look up words I don't know at least once a day!) Seeing one's written thoughts can also help solve a problem, be it a misunderstanding with a friend, a fight with a brother or sister, or just sorting out feelings.

This summer I worked with Zach, who just started sixth grade. Zach's daily assignment was to write a page a day, about any subject. In the beginning his journal entries were barely a paragraph long, but session by session his entries became more detailed as he learned how to expand his ideas and add "flavor" to his writing. Before he knew it, he was easily writing a full page without complaint! And guess what? On his first day of school, his new language arts teacher assigned the class journal writing! I'll bet Zach's journal entries are spelled correctly and are fun to read because he already had a summer's worth of practice!

Writing is one of the easiest things to do! It can be done anywhere--sitting by the pool or on a beach, riding the bus or train, or even while you watch TV. All you need is pen and paper, or your computer. And there are infinite things to write about! So, get started! Pick out a notebook with an appealing cover that you'll want to use everyday, find pencils or pens that feel comfortable in your hand, and just write!