Skills to Practice this Month
- Invite your child to help with sending cards and letters.
- Writing letters to family and friends will help children improve their narrative skills and print awareness. Being able to tell or retell a story helps children understand what they read. Being familiar with the value of the printed language helps children feel comfortable with books and understand that print is useful.
Having a pen pal is a great way for children to learn about writing letters and cards, plus children love getting their own mail. It makes them feel special. If your child is too young to write, have her tell you what to write and let her draw a picture to accompany the letter. One of the best pen pals a child could have is another family member such as a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, or a cousin her own age. Help your child by providing her with prompts for her writing such as "Do you want to tell Gramma about your soccer game?" or, "When you write to your cousin Beth, tell her all about your cat, Cuddles. She loves animals, too!"
Talk to your child about the format of a letter and the kinds of words that are used in letters: salutations like "dear" and closings like "sincerely" and "yours truly". Show her examples of cards, letters, or notes that you have received.
Writing thank you cards is a great way for children to learn about writing and sending cards while at the same time learning about the importance of expressing appreciation and thanks when others show them a kindness. Let your child make and decorate her own cards to send with construction paper, stickers, markers, and other materials. Check out books at the library about how to make cards and decorate them with common materials.
Help your child fold her letters, put them in envelopes, and address them. Let her affix the stamp to the envelopes. After writing a card or letter, take your child to the post office to mail the letter. Your child will learn how a piece of mail gets from here to there. Ask the postal worker about how your child's letter will get to Gramma's house. Next time, show your child a mailbox and let her drop her letter into the mail slot. Tell her about how a mail carrier will take their letter out of the mailbox and deliver it.