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Create a Letter Writing Kit to Help Kids Connect!

By Peggy Healy Stearns, Ph.D.

Children who write well have a lifelong advantage. In school, effective writing skills contribute to success across the curriculum and on a growing battery of standardized tests. Beyond the classroom, communication skills allow children to connect with others, share their experience, and collaborate.

For children to write well, they need to write often. And to write often, they need to be motivated. Parents can encourage children by providing authentic writing experiences in which children share their work with a real audience. One way to find a real audience is for children to pen a personal letter. Friends and family make enthusiastic readers who help kids celebrate their success.

Children can write letters on the computer, but they also need experience writing by hand. Despite all the technology in our schools, the majority of writing is still done the old-fashioned way. And at home, a pen or pencil is still the technology of choice when kids take a phone message, leave Mom a note, or write a postcard.

To motivate young writers, we’ve created a “letter writing kit” that includes kid-friendly stationery with appropriate writing lines and layouts. There’s also a simple guide to letter and envelope formats. And finally, fun ideas to make letter writing a creative and rewarding experience that will help children connect with family, friends – and the curriculum.

Stationary StudioThe letter and envelope templates used in this project were created with Stationery Studio®, an innovative software program designed by Peggy Healy Stearns and published by FableVision, Inc. Stationery Studio lets you choose from 226 inspiring borders and shapes that can be customized with appropriate writing line styles, line widths, and layouts to suit children’s developmental level and writing task. Children can type their stories, reports, letters and more at the computer or they can print lined stationery to write by hand. All the art in Stationery Studio was created by award-winning author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds. For more information or a tour, go to http://www.fablevision.com/stationerystudio.

Objectives:

  • To develop writing skills, including the use of standard grammar, conventional spelling, and proper letter and envelope formats
  • To practice penmanship
  • To maintain emotional connection with family and friends

Materials:
Free downloads from Parents’ Choice website:

Other Materials:

  • Pencil, pen, or thin marker for writing
  • Tape, glue or stickers to seal letters
  • Optional: Scissors, glitter or other decorative materials

Steps:

  1. Download and print the stationery [RainbowLetter.pdf, RainbowEnvelope.pdf, ShellsLetter.pdf, ShellsEnvelope.pdf] and share it with children. Let children pick their favorite. Then brainstorm with children about family or friends to whom they might write.
  2. Download and print FriendlyLetterFormat.pdf and use it as a guide to help children fill in the return address and greeting. Then help children brainstorm ideas and write and sign their letters. If desired, let younger children dictate letters while you act as scribe. Or write your own letter alongside your child to model the process and provide inspiration. When finished, show children how to fold the letter in three. First fold the bottom third up, and then fold the top third down.
  3. Download and print EnvelopeFormat.pdf and use it as a guide to help children address their envelopes. When finished, fold back or cut off the triangular sections at the top of the envelope where marked. Place the envelope page face down and put the folded letter in the middle. Fold the envelope around the letter, bottom third up, top third down. Seal with tape or a sticker. (Note: If you want, you can fold the envelope first and tape the sides. If you do it this way, you may want to fold or trim the sides of the letter to slip it in more easily. Use this method if you want to enclose something with your letter.)

    Address

More Fun!

  • Make a cool fold-over note! Print the letter template, and then reinsert the sheet and print the envelope on the other side. (Be sure to insert the top of the page first.) Fold to create an all-in-one fold-over note. These notes work best when printed on heavy stock paper.
  • Create your own Letter Writing Kit. Print multiple copies of our Rainbow and Shells stationery and put them in a box with pens, pencils, markers, stickers and other goodies to inspire writing. Add note cards, postcards, and an address book. Keep the writing box in a convenient spot to inspire young writers
  • If you own Stationery Studio, let children choose from hundreds of designs to print a variety of stationery for their letters, stories, schools reports, and other writing activities. Or let them use Stationery Studio’s word processor to type at the computer and print their finished work.
About the Author
Peggy Healy Stearns, Ph.D., (www.peggyhealystearns.com) is an educator, a parent, and the designer of eight award-winning children’s software programs including Graph Club, Stationery Studio, and Neighborhood MapMachine.

 

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