Letter Writing Lesson Plans for Parents and Teachers

In the days of e-mail and text messaging, some elementary students may have never seen a proper letter. As a child grows up, he or she may not need to write many letters on paper, but at some point a child will need to know how to do so. Keep reading for a few tips on teaching children this craft.

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Teaching Children How to Write Letters

Making Letter Writing Fun

Learning to write letters can be a very dry, uninteresting process if it only involves the rote memorization of how to do it. You can make it interesting for a class or a child at home by setting goals. Although there are many rules to learn, the point of writing a letter is to communicate with another person. If you help children maintain this focus, the process can be fun and exciting.

Teaching Kids about Styles and Formats

It's typically important for children to learn about different letter formats and styles. The type of format you use depends on who your child or your class is writing to. There are thank you letters, letters to complain about products, letters to congratulate and many more. It's necessary for children to learn about the fundamental differences between formal, business-oriented letter writing and personal, friendly letter writing.

Many websites and programs can be useful when teaching children how to write letters. Some of them are designed to teach letter formats, while others actually format letters for the user. Teach your child or class to use programs such as Microsoft Letter Wizard for this purpose.

Writing Creative Letters

Writing creative practice letters at home or in class can be a useful way for children to learn the craft. There are a number of books and resources that you may find helpful, such as The Jolly Postman, by Allen and Janet Ahlberg.

Introduce the lesson by reading the book to your child or your students. The Jolly Postman is an interactive book that's comprised of letters to and from fairy tale characters. Discuss the letters with your child or students and ask them to point out characteristics that they notice.

Have your child or students reread several fairy tales and ask them to write a letter to one of the characters from the fairy tale. For example, they could write as the wolf sending an apology to Little Red Riding Hood, or as Cinderella writing a note to the cleaners asking them to polish her glass slipper. If you're a teacher, once all of the letters are done, assemble a class book in the style of The Jolly Postman.

Writing Letters to Real People

A fun way to get your child or a class excited about letter writing is to write real letters to real people. Start a pen pal letter exchange with children who live in other parts of the world. Have your child or class write letters to famous people that they admire, like authors, pop stars or even the president of the United States. The key is to create excitement and enthusiasm for writing letters.

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