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    By Kelly

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    I use journals as a part of my literacy centers. Each child writes in his or her journal at least once a week, sometimes more if there is something special to write about or if the child wants to write in it. I work with 5 students at a time. I usually give them a topic related to the theme we are working on. For example, this week was all about the letter A and apples, so the children drew pictures of magical apple trees. After drawing their pictures, I encourage the children to "write some letters" to go with their drawings. I will stretch words out for the kids to write down. There are no right or wrong ways to spell words during journals, and I make this very clear from the beginning. The only thing the children have to do is try their best to write whatever sounds they hear in the words they would like to say. Before ending this activity, each child "reads" what they wrote, and I copy their words at the bottom of the page.

    This is a great way to show progress in learning how to write and about letter sounds. Random letters turn into inventive spelling, which can then turn into conventional spelling for some children, if developmentally appropriate. The kids really love writing/drawing in their journals, and are proud to read what they wrote to me. They also like to share their work with their parents when they come in to visit, and are thrilled with the idea that they will get to take their journals home at the end of the year.

    Good Luck!

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