Letter writing introduces students to the use of writing to communicate to others. Young students excel in the informal use of oral language. Letter writing encourages students to use conversational language in written communication.
- to encourage students to communicate with others in writing
- to provide opportunities for students to apply their understanding of oral language to the process of writing
- to develop students' awareness of writing for varied audiences and purposes
- to acquaint students with the basic format of friendly or informal letters
- Introduce letter writing as a collaborative writing activity.
- Decide the purpose for the letter and the recipient with students.
- Suggest that letters may be written to parents/caregivers, other classes, principals or teachers, classmates who are ill or have moved away, school caretakers, and community groups or services.
- Brainstorm and record ideas for letter contents.
- Structure brainstormed ideas into letter format, repeating the sentences as they are written using an overhead transparency, chalkboard or chart paper.
- Read the completed letter together with students and make any necessary revisions.
- Copy the drafted letter onto letter-size or experience chart paper.
- Ask the entire class to sign the letter.
- Mail or deliver the letter to the recipient. This may be an opportunity to go on a walking tour of the community to find a mailbox or visit a post office.
- Keep a copy of the letter in a class diary, scrapbook or correspondence file.
- Provide opportunities for individual letter "writing" at the writing centre. Have available odd envelopes, inexpensive stickers (for stamps) and suitable paper.
- Have personal mailboxes available in the classroom so that students can correspond with one another. These could be student or teacher-made from shoe boxes, milk cartons, etc.
- Observe students' enthusiasm to communicate to others in "writing".
- Note students' participation in collaborative writing tasks.
- Monitor individual efforts to compose messages and letters to others.
- Help students understand that letters represent meaningful communication with a genuine audience.
- Encourage emerging writers to combine drawings and print in their letters.
- Encourage students to share experiences, thoughts, comments and questions with their audience.