Learn All Year Long
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Can Letters Tell a Story?
- Familiarize yourself with the interactive Letter Generator tool.
- Before beginning to read Clueless McGee, talk to the child about how books can use different formats to tell a page-turning story. Unlike books that go chapter by chapter and describe who did what and who said what, this book uses letters written by the main character to tell the story.
- Read the book Clueless McGee. [Note that this book is 256 pages long and will require significant time for the child to read alone or with you.]
Find Clueless McGee at your local library or online at www.wegivebooks.org. Create a free account by clicking “Join” at the top of the homepage. Once logged in, click “Read” in the top header and then search for the title you’d like to read online.
- Ask the child to think about a summer memory, and explain that he or she will tell the story of that memory by writing a letter to someone they know. Make this person the recipient of the letter. How will this affect how the child tells the story? Consider sharing the letter with the person the child chose and asking him or her to write a response.
- Open the interactive Letter Generator tool. The child will have to choose whether this is a friendly letter or a business letter. The tool also will ask for heading information, including the address and date, a salutation, the body of the letter, the closing, and the postscript, if needed.
- When the letter is complete, print it out and encourage the child to draw an illustration or two for the story, like in Clueless McGee.
- Share the letter with the recipient. Does the story feel complete and satisfying for the reader? Does the reader have questions or another viewpoint that would warrant the child to respond through a second letter?
- Clueless McGee sets out to solve a macaroni-and-cheese mystery. Suggest the child try the interactive Mystery Cube tool to set up a story in letters with all the key elements of a mystery.
- Team up for more story power! Have the child find a friend or sibling so they can co-author a letter-driven story. The child can write letter #1, then the friend writes letter #2, and so on. Expect some silly twists!
- Take this idea on the road: Play the “what if” game. At Clueless McGee’s school, someone stole the cafeteria’s mac and cheese. If a mystery happened at the child’s school, what would it be? And who would be the best person to solve it?
A form of written communication, also known as a traditional letter, written between two people who know each other well. Friendly letters, unlike business letters, do not follow as rigid a format or style guidelines.
A form of written communication, usually between two people who don’t know each other well, that follows strict format and style guidelines.