Playing Post Office Teaches Lifelong Literacy Lessons

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At her mother’s request, the little girl went to the almost-too-high mailbox and brought the mail into the kitchen,mailbox 1 holding the various envelopes and documents at arm’s length, she pointed them at Mom. She watched as her smiling mother muttered to herself while tearing envelopes open, tossing some of them unopened into the recycle bin. Magazines and other more substantial publications were set in one pile, the remainder placed where mom could get to them later.

“What is all of that?” The little girl asks.

“Oh, things that people want us to have.

They pay the letter carrier to bring them to us.”

“But you threw some of them away.”

“Right. Well, some of these things I didn’t really want to read.

But I saved that letter from grandma to read and enjoy later on.”

Wide-eyed, the little girl said, “I didn’t get a letter.”

“Well, if you want to receive a letter, you have to send a letter.

That’s how it works. We sent Grandma a letter last month and she replied.

I’ll probably call her to thank her and you can talk to her, too.”

“I could give you letter,” said the little girl.

mailbox 3“Of course you could,” the mother answered.

“There’s still plenty of time today for you to write me a letter and you could be your own letter carrier and deliver it to me tomorrow. And then, I’ll write you back.Would you like to do that?

But the little one didn’t hear that last sentence. She had already vanished back to her diminutive desk to compose a note to her mother.

This was a huge literacy lesson for the youngster. In this brief conversation she encountered concepts about reading and writing, the postal service, junk mail, recycling and the function of piles. She also learned that the printed word retains messages until you are ready to receive them, plus it can make you feel good, initiate other actions, and on and on. These are the essential seeds for growing the culture of reading and writing in the home.

Home literacy lessons are sometimes planned, but more often, they just happen. Children are always alert to anything  grownups do that they might want to imitate. They also are essential for children to come to recognize the power of print and the positive and compelling role it can play in their lives.  Then, conversation about these events deepens and reinforces initial perceptions about how the world works.mailbox 2

Many parents have no idea that they can play such powerful roles in ensuring success in school and life. All they have to do is talk with their children about what is going on at home or in neighborhood life, and invite them to try things out.

Check out this website for free stuff that you can have sent to your children. They will love receiving their own mail.



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