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Professional Development

Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.



Did You Know?

Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

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HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Launching Family Message Journals

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


Launching Family Message Journals

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 40-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Julie Wollman, Ph.D.

Julie Wollman, Ph.D.

Worcester, Massachusetts


National Council of Teachers of English


Materials and Technology

Student Interactives






  • A booklet or notebook to be used as a journal. Lined paper with an unlined block at the top (for illustrations) works well in the beginning.

  • Back-up people to reply if a child's family members don't. (The letter and pressure from children make this a rare occurrence, but there are always one or two families who cannot reply regularly. In this case, a student teacher in the school, a special subject teacher, the principal, or librarian are good options.)

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Letter Generator

Grades   K – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Writing & Publishing Prose

Letter Generator

The Letter Generator is a useful tool for students to learn the parts of a business or friendly letter and then compose and print letters for both styles of correspondence.


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Family Letter

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  • Choose the activity, book, or experience about which children will write their first two messages. This could be a book read aloud, a science inquiry, a social studies lesson, a school assembly, the experience of the first day at school, making new friends, or any other topic drawing on school experiences.

  • Choose a topic for the demonstration message that you'll compose for students.

  • Prepare and photocopy the Family Letter. Have it translated into families' home languages as necessary.

  • Test the Letter Generator on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tool and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.

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