Stage 0: Foundation for Literacy
Stage 1: Beginning Literacy
Concepts of Print, Writing Conventions Secondary: Motivation for Literacy, Text Structures & Genres
1. Gather chart paper and markers
2. Post the chart paper in a place that is visible to all students
1. Explain to students that you will be writing a letter to another class in order to share your classroom experiences
2. Help the class brainstorm ideas for the topic of the letter and use prompting questions to guide them
a. Sample Prompting Questions: What have we been learning in our classroom? What do you think
our friends in room ___ would like to know about us?
3. Write the message while demonstrating appropriate letter-writing conventions, such as a salutation and conclusion, for example:
a. Salutation: We usually begin a letter with Dear or To and then write the name of the person we
are sending it to.
b. Conclusion: To end a letter, we usually write From or another closing and then sign our names to
show who the letter is from.
4. Read the letter aloud to the class and direct students attention to concepts of print and writing conventions such as the direction of text, capitalization of the first letter in each sentence, and punctuation
5. Have students sign the letter and add small drawings to illustrate the letter content, if desired
6. Select two or three students to deliver the message to the other classroom
English Language Learners/ESL:
- Have students draw different experiences to be described in the letter
LD/Reading & Writing Difficulties:
- Review and re-emphasize main letter writing conventions with students in a small group or one-on-one setting
Cultural Appropriateness & Diversity:
- Encourage each student to add an idea to the class letter, (particularly around holiday times), to describe different celebrations that take place in their lives
For individual letter writing: - Prepare a template ahead of time for struggling students who can fill in the blanks instead of writing an entire letter on their own
O'Connor, R., Notari-Syverson, A., & Vadasy, P.F. (1998). Ladders to Literacy A Kindergarten Activity Book. Paul H. Brookes Publishing.
Button, K., Johnson, M.J., & Furgerson, P. (1996). Interactive writing in a primary classroom. The Reading Teacher, 49, 446-454.
The goal of Classroom Post Office: Letter Writing for Motivation and Communication is to motivate students to understand concepts of print and letter-writing conventions by writing an engaging letter to another class.
What You Need
- Prepare chart paper and markers
- Students decide on a message to send to another class - Teacher writes the letter on a large piece of chart paper - The letter is delivered to another classroom
Teacher: - Chart paper - Markers
What You Do
Facilitator: - while class provides ideas for a message
Modeling: - during letter drafting
Direct instruction: - when explaining letter-writing conventions
Whole class: - during brainstorming and letter writing
- During the whole class letter-writing process, make note of students who demonstrate strength in contributing ideas and recognizing concepts of print and record observations on a class list
- Model making use of the classroom word wall to assist in spelling words in the message
- Post newly-introduced letter-writing vocabulary and refer to it when appropriate
- Use school-wide celebrations or holidays as an opportunity to write whole-class letters, or model writing special letters
- Once students are familiar with classroom messages and letter writing and have adequate writing skills, have them write individual letters that can be sent home or create mailboxes for each student in the classroom so they can write back and forth
- This activity can be structured to address other literacy components - for example, within the modeled writing, you can address letter-sound correspondence or vocabulary to meet the needs of the class.