A guest post by Melissa Taylor of Imagination Soup!
What’s the first word a child learns to write?
His or her name! Start with the name - add a picture and you have the makings of a letter to a friend.
We know that kids love getting mail.
Writing letters gives kids a gratifying purpose for writing – gratifying because most of the time, you receive a letter in return.
Read about it first!
Before you begin writing letters, read Max and Ruby’s book, "Bunny Mail" or "Toot and Puddle" about sending and receiving mail.
Gather supplies like scrap paper, note cards, envelopes, scissors, markers, pencils, stickers, ink stamps.
Make a mailbox
Make mail boxes for each child out of shoe boxes.
Scaffold your letter writing instruction
Model writing a “letter” to each child. First draw a picture and talk about who you think you want to give the picture letter to – maybe your friend, Mariah. Write / sign your name and give the letter to Mariah.
Adding on . . . Model writing another letter with pictures and words. The children listen for the letter sounds, then write the letters they hear. When done, sign your name and give the letter to the a friend.
Now, add writing the friend’s name or at least, the beginning letter of his or her name. (Another idea is to put name tag stickers on each child’s table. Friends can stop by and peel off the name sticker and use that on their letters.)
Finally, model using an envelope in which to enclose the letter. Show how to write the friend’s name on the front of the envelope. Model where to put the stamp -- a sticker -- in the upper right hand corner.
Depending on the age of the children you are teaching, you may choose to stop after step one or two. Or you could also scaffold the lesson over a week’s time. You know your students best so make this fit for their abilities.
Remember, all children are writers. We just need to show them how!
Happy letter writing!
P.S. This would be fun for Valentine’s Day!
Melissa Taylor is a teacher, writer and mom of two with an M.A. in Education. She writes a learning activities blog at www.imaginationsoup.net and can always be found on Twitter too!
Thank you Melissa for taking the time to share your expertise and experience with us!