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Write Right Back: Recognizing Readers’ Needs and Expectations for E-mail Replies
|Grades||K – 2|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Three 40-minute sessions|
Beginning writers find electronic communication highly engaging, and educators recognize the power of e-mail as a tool for literacy learning. E-mail is well-suited to teaching audience awareness—recognizing what readers need to know to understand a reply message and using the reply function as a way to contextualize a reply and help readers make sense of it. In this lesson, the teacher models replying to an e-mail message, pointing out the information that is automatically contained in such a reply, and students compose their own replies to an e-mail from the teacher. They explore when replying to all is a useful option, how leaving the original message can help to clarify a reply, and the importance of a specific subject in an e-mail. By comparing, sending and receiving e-mail replies, students explore issues of reply format and content with audience needs and expectations in mind.
E-Mail Abbreviation: This student interactive gives examples of and explains some common abbreviations used in e-mail and texting.
E-mail is a motivating tool for teaching writing because children enjoy communicating in this medium. E-mail has become a pervasive form of communication that children must learn in order to be fully literate. Technology, then, is a powerful tool for learning to write; however, screen writing may have unintended affects on children's literacy learning if differences between screen and paper genres are not explored. As a genre, e-mail messages follow "rules" for style and conventions that differ from the norms for handwritten letters. Children can learn about these differences by comparing and experimenting with writing e-mail messages and letters. Children's awareness of genre differences may help them understand and master the various written forms they will encounter in their lives.
Wollman-Bonilla, J. E. "E-mail as Genre: A Beginning Writer Learns the Conventions." Language Arts 81.2 (November 2003): 126-134.