Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mail Sorting Fun

Near Valentine's Day, your child may be receiving lots of mail. This is a fun time of year to play with mail. By letting your child explore the mail you receive in your home, you are exposing your child to a wide variety of texts.
 The Jolly PostmanA fun book to integrate into your mail play time is The Jolly Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg.
In the Jolly Postman, the mailman journeys on his mail route to deliver the mail to numerous fairy tale characters. Each of the pages have envelopes with real pieces of mail tucked inside. Your child can remove the small letters, invitations, etc. and read them.

As you are reading, direct your child's attention to the differences in forms of writing. You could say things like:
  • What do you notice?
  • Does all of the mail look the same? How is it different? Why do you think it is different?
  • Why do you think (Mama Bear) wrote a (card)? - switch out the character and the form of writing and discuss the author's purpose in his/her writing.
  • Who did each character write to? Why is that important?
You don't have to ask all of the questions. These are examples that I used with my early readers when I was teaching, so gear it to your child's age and attention span.

After reading the book, show your child some of the mail that you have collected from the past week. Kids LOVE to open the mail, so save up that junk mail! Include any cards or letters from friends/relatives, sale ads,etc. As you sort through the mail, guide the discussion by saying things like:
  • What do you notice?
  • Does all the mail look the same?
  • Do you write mail? Who do you write to? Why do you write?
Continue the Learning:
As your child is reading this week, guide them to notice differences in text. As they read, ask them things like:
  • Why did the author write this book?
  • What type of writing is this?
  • Does it look like any of the writing we saw in The Jolly Pocket Postman?
What your child is learning:
1. Authors use writing to communicate stories (narrative text) and factual ideas (expository text).
2. Different types of text (letters, invitations, poems, lists, paragraphs) have different structures.
3. Author and purpose influence how I write.

I am linking this up to We Play at Childhood 101.


  1. love the step by step guide! It is SO convenient to have those questions ready for you and know that they are the most effective ones to be asking etc.

  2. This sounds like a great way to learn more about both mail and writing. Thanks for sharing the book!

  3. Hello! My name is Carolyn. I follow your blog and it's just wonderful. I also have a blog and am wondering if you would follow mine as well. It's finally up and running...still needing some work, but my prayer is that God might just touch one through it. Thank you. :)