Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Letter Writing

Dear Juno By: Soyung Pak
Grades 2-4 

Juno writes letters back and forth with his grandmother who lives in Korea. Though Juno can't read Korean he can figure out a lot about what his grandmother's letter says by using the clues she tucks inside. A heartwarming story about the special bond between a child and a grandparent. This book is also a fantastic example if teaching inferencing.

Dear Mr. Blueberry By: Simon James
Grades K-2

Emily exchanges letters with her teacher Mr. Blueberry over the course of the summer. She tells him all about the whale that lives in her pond. Mr. Blueberry sends her whale facts and gently explains there is no way a whale can live in a pond in her backyard. In the midst of teaching his young students about whales he learns something as well. He learns about the magic of a vivid imagination and about having faith.

Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School By: Mark Teague
Grades 2-4

Ike LaRue has been sent to obedience school by his owner Mrs. LaRue. The most dramatic of canines Ike loves writing her letters embellishing his experiences and admonishing her for sending him away. Funny letters are only part of this book, the pictures tell half the story. The color pictures are what Ike is really experiencing at "doggy daycare" and the black and white illustrations show the "prison" that Ike is trying to portray. Sure to be a hit with all kids who love dogs and appreciate a good laugh.

Dear Teacher By: Amy Husband
Grades K-3

I love this book! The book is designed to look like an envelope and it actually has a flap that you open to read the book jut like you're opening a real envelope. All the illustrations are meant to look as they are done by a child. It's bright and funny and such a creative idea! Michael gets a letter from his principal dated August 15th to let him know that school is starting soon and who his new teacher will be. Michael writes to his new teacher about why he won't be in school on the first day because he has just been recruited by the secret service for a special mission. And thus begins the letters Michael sends, each one more outlandish than the one before. It's Miss Brooks' reply that is at the end of the book that really slays me though - - everyone school should have a teacher on her game like that!

Dear Vampa By: Ross Collins
Grades 1-3

This book starts and ends with a letter but the middle is a sentence on each page with a picture illustrating the character's complaints of the awful new neighbors. Bram Pire writes a letter to his Vampa that the family is going to be moving back to Transylvania because the new neighbors are making life unbearable. The vampires can't understand why the new neighbors like sunshine so much or stay up all day long making noise. At the end of the book you see that the new neighbors aren't normal humans as the reader suspects, but they're werewolves, which adds to the book's creepy humor.

Raf By: Anke de Vries
Grades K-2

Raf and Ben are always together until one day Raf is gone. You never get to see the little boy Ben in this book but his stuffed giraffe Raf sends him postcards while he is mysteriously traveling abroad. Then one day Raf comes back -- with dreadlocks! The illustrations tell half the tale. Love this short sweet book.

The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman By: Darcy Pattison
Grades 2-4

Tameka sends her Uncle Ray a letter asking him to  come visit during the summer. Uncle Ray writes back that he can't come visit because he's too busy, but he'll send his friend Oliver instead. Oliver K. Woodman is a life-size wooden sculpture and Uncle Ray leaves him out on the side of the road with a letter explaining he is trying to get to Tameka Schwartz in Redcrest, California and could use a ride along with a sign saying "California or Bust". Strangers pick up Oliver and carry him along on their journeys leaving him wherever they stop. Each person who picks up Oliver sends a note to Uncle Ray letting him know what Oliver did and where he went. Eventually someone drops Oliver off at Tameka's house and she couldn't be happier. Very reminiscent of Flat Stanley.

Writing Seed: These are all fantastic selections for kicking off your lessons on teaching how to write a letter. After discussing the parts of a letter and the layout the students could write a letter back to one of the characters from the story for practice.

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