One thing that is on our list of Kindergartner-in-Training activities is writing in a journal. I've come to learn during the past year that Jake actually can print and spell pretty well. I've helped him write enough thank you notes and birthday cards to see that clearly. What he actually needs practice with is writing numbers. We have a kindergarten-level math workbook that he loves to use, but it does not call for printing numbers very often. It concentrates more on sequences, counting, and logic. In his journal, Jake is able to practice printing and spelling, but also has the opportunity to practice writing numbers by including the date in each journal entry.
Here are a few things I did to try to make this activity successful:
1) I chose a smaller sized notebook. A 4x6 or a 5x7 notebook would seem less overwhelming. Being able to fill a page with one or two sentences gives Jake a bigger sense of accomplishment.
2) I invited Jake to decorate the front cover with stickers and his name so that he would feel proud and have a sense of ownership of the journal.
3) I make the activity very low pressure. I never require him to write more than once sentence and he is allowed to write about a topic of his choosing. I also do not force him to write every day, but rather when he thinks of something he would like to create an entry about.
4) Although I or my husband usually help him with the spelling, we always give Jake a sticker for completing the activity. This way, he can look through his past entries and feel proud about what he's accomplished and he is reminded that we are proud of him as well.