Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us

 

 

Learn All Year Long

Learn All Year Long

Learn All Year Long

Kids and teens should read and write even when they are out of school. Why is this so important?

Download the flyer (PDF)

 

Read for My Summer

Read for My Summer

Beat the summer heat with engaging activities from ReadWriteThink.org.

More

 

Parent & Afterschool Resources

ReadWriteThink has a variety of resources for out-of-school use. Visit our Parent & Afterschool Resources section to learn more.

More

 

Home Parent & Afterschool Resources Activities & Projects

Activity

Mail Time!

 

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

 

Mail Time!

Grades 3 – 5
Activity Time 20 to 45 minutes
Activity Author

Lisa Storm Fink

Lisa Storm Fink

Urbana, Illinois

 
Publisher National Council of Teachers of English
 

What You Need

Here's What To Do

More Ideas To Try

Glossary

 

What You Need

  • Examples of junk mail
  • Computer access (optional)

back to top

 

Here's What To Do

  1. Collect junk mail for several days. Sort through it to determine if any of it contains inappropriate content or personal information, and remove any of those pieces from the collection.
  2. Invite children to investigate the pieces of mail and talk about what they find.
  3. Ask the children to think specifically about the word "junk" in the name junk mail. What makes this mail "junk"? Do they agree with that name? What else could they call it?
  4. Encourage children to explain what makes the pieces of mail similar and different.
  5. Ask them to sort the junk mail into piles of their own choosing. When they are done sorting, have the children explain why they made each pile. Any kind of sorting is fine. Children may sort based on size or color, based on the kind of mailing (e.g., letters, glossy advertisements, newspaper inserts), or based on who the junk mail is addressed to. Leave the sorting categories open to the child. As you discuss the categories, you can suggest other ways of sorting the junk mail and then encourage the child to re-sort the pieces.
  6. Take a closer look at several pieces of junk mail:

    • How do you know what the piece of junk mail is about?
    • How do you know what is being advertised in this piece of junk mail?
    • Who are the people who will probably read this piece of junk mail?
    • Who created and sent out this piece of junk mail?
    • What kind of things are advertised in this piece of junk mail?
    • What do the advertisers want you to think about the items mentioned or shown in this piece of junk mail?
    • What is the purpose of this piece of junk mail?
    • What techniques in the piece of junk mail are used to attract your attention?
    • Would someone else understand this piece of junk mail differently from you?
    • What kinds of people and interests are represented in or omitted from this piece of junk mail?
  7. As children discuss these issues, encourage them to point directly to examples from the junk mail that support or demonstrate what they are saying.
  8. When you are done with the junk mail, recycle it!

back to top

 

More Ideas To Try

  • Challenge children to take one piece of junk mail and rewrite it in a way that they think is more honest, more effective, dramatic, or humorous. They can focus on a different audience or a different persuasive point.
  • Chart the number of pieces of mail that are received each day. How many are junk mail? How many are useful pieces of mail?
  • Use the pieces of junk mail to create other projects:

    • Make mosaics-parts and pieces glued together to make a new picture.
    • Use newspaper headlines-words pieced together to make a statement.
    • Use words from the mail to create a book or story.
    • Have a scavenger hunt for specific pictures of people, animals, sports, etc.
    • Use pictures from the junk mail to put together a grocery list.
    • Fold the junk mail into pieces of origami.
    • Play "I Spy" with the child, providing clues for things to find in the junk mail.
  • Since you will be recycling the junk mail, talk about the process of recycling. You can watch a video of paper recycling together to learn more about the way recycling works.

back to top

 

Glossary

Think critically

 

To think both logically and creatively about a topic using different kinds of information. When people think critically, they not only attend to new words and ideas, but they also connect these words and ideas with the things they already know.

Purpose

 

The reason or goal someone has for writing a particular text. Common reasons for writing include to express feelings or ideas, to convince someone to believe something, and to provide someone information or instructions. The purpose will often determine the choices the writer makes about how and what to write.

Audience

 

The person or group of people that the message of a piece of writing is meant for. Most pieces of writing have more than one audience.

back to top