In February, what child doesn’t enjoy receiving and sending colorful Valentine’s Day cards?
And whether children make the cards themselves or simply sign their name to a card they buy, the act of sending and receiving Valentine’s Day cards is one that promotes literacy among young children.
Because it encourages reading, writing, and even talking about the Valentine’s cards with friends and/or family.
Most children love creating a Valentines Mailbox.
They can make a mailbox for school and one for home, too.
In fact, at home encourage everyone in the family to build a mailbox and exchange Valentines and other cards, notes, and letters all month long.
The mail doesn’t need to stop when March rolls around either.
Children will be used to the practice of sending and receiving mail by that time and they probably won’t want to give it up.
In March, encourage them to create cards and notes for St. Patrick’s Day.
Of course, there are all sorts of reasons to send mail every single day.
And by making it fun for kids to send and receive mail, they start to value the written word more and more.
And they are doing so in a way that is “authentic” because they really want to be able to read what that card from their father says, or they want to know how to spell a word correctly in a message they are putting in their sister’s mailbox.
Using Mailboxes in the Classroom
Teachers can also use the mail as a way for children to write about books they read or topics they study in the classroom.
Letters or cards can be sent from one child to another answering specific questions about a specific book.
The teacher might ask the class to writer a letter to a friend in class telling who their favorite character was in the book, what they liked best about the book, what they would do differently if they were the writing a book like this, etc.
When the children finish writing the letters they can put them in the mailboxes.
Later, everyone can read the letters and share them with the class as a class activity.
Write Notes Throughout the Day
As a parent or teacher, jot little notes and put them in your children’s or students’ mailboxes throughout the day.
If you’re a busy teacher, you don’t have to send a note to every child in your class every day. Just one note a day to one student will do.
It’s also fun if kids can create a mailbox that has a flag that can be raised or lowered when someone puts mail in the box.
The raised flag lets the child know “You’ve got mail!”
In the classroom, children can make reading, writing, and distributing the mail a daily practice at a specific time.
That way, kids won’t be running around to all the mailboxes at all times of day.
They’ll really look forward to the “mail call” part of the day!