Nothing brightens your day more than a friendly letter, much less a letter from a child. This week, I’m spending some time with some amazing short people in first grade. Have I mentioned how much I love first grade? Writing with first graders is very eye-opening, and letter writing is sure to create a little buzz. Today, I’ll share suggestions for teaching letter writing with small children.
Model Letter Writing with Great Literature
First of all, we begin by sharing great book choices. Luckily, one of Ezra Jack Keats’ books fits the bill since we’re also doing a study of his work with our reading mini lessons. A Letter to Amy is about Peter getting ready for his birthday party. His BFF is Amy, and he really really wants her to come. He writes a personal message, but things get foiled. Then, he loses the letter. However, Amy gets the message and comes right on time.
Another great letter writing book is Dear Mrs LaRou by Mark Teague. Luckily, my favorite writing website, The Writing Fix has a great lesson with teaching ideas, anchor papers, and some materials. I was really happy to be able to project the anchor paper samples for the kids to look at and evaluate. Kids learn a lot from looking at other students’ examples. At the end of this post, I’ll share the letter writing paper I created for the kids to use.
Finally, If you’re wanting to write persuasive letters, my favorite is I Wanna Iguana. I love this book, and honestly, it could lead to really interesting letters. I have a full lesson on persuasive writing with it. CLICK HERE to access that lesson.
Explain Friendly Letters
After we’ve explored letters in our mentor texts, it’s time to explain friendly letters. I share our texts to build background and model how letters are organized. Then, we brainstorm topics and details for our letters. For our first letter, the children write thank you notes to a guest speaker . The details shared from the presentation were excellent, and the drafts are well organized. (Lesson success!)
The second piece we will be working on will go through the full writing process and will be based upon the lesson ideas with Dear Mrs. LaRou. I love the anchor papers that are included which will get the ideas going. RAFT papers are fun, and I’m anxious to see what the kids come up with for topics.
After two explicitly taught pieces, we’ll continue writing letters during the grading period. The children will write to characters, to family members, and to each other. Hopefully, the kids will go home and write them too!
More Friendly Letter Teaching Ideas
There are two pages included in the freebie I’m sharing with you. The first includes the five parts of a letter labeled with the parts the kids need to know. The second is a letter writing stationary. I hope you find it helpful.
Other Writing Links:
We use letter writing skills all the time, so I know the kids will write lots of them in the weeks ahead to show off their new knowledge. Have a great week, and I enjoy the freebie.