Have you ever had a pen pal? Pen pals can not only be a great deal of fun, they can also serve as a great practical and fun way to help your student learn language arts skills. Engaging with a pen pal teaches your students how to format and address personal letters, provides opportunity to develop communication skills, and helps students learn how to tell stories and pain word pictures. As a side benefit, your student might learn a little bit about a new location or culture.
Here are some pen pal tips for your student.
Ideas for Writing Your First Letter
- First of all, tell the truth. Lying is never acceptable, even when you are writing to someone you may never meet.
- Introduce yourself. Include your name, age, gender, and country.
- Describe your family.
- Talk about your hobbies and interests.
- Tell your pen pal about some of your favorite foods. If you are writing to an international pen pal, you might want to describe them or include a recipe or photo of the food.
- Discuss a book that you are reading, or your favorite book(s).
- Talk about the type of music or musical groups that you like.
- Make a list of your favorites: song, color, movie, season, holiday, game, sport, etc.
- Be sure to ask your pen pal questions!
Safety Tips for Kids
- Use a legitimate pen pal site to find your pen pal. Do not contact someone over the Internet.
- Do not send any photos unless parental approval is given. (Parents, be sure that photos do not include any identifying information such as license plate numbers or id numbers.)
- Let your parents know immediately if any content in a letter makes you uncomfortable.
- Don’t send money to your pen pal. If your pen pal asks for money, tell your parents immediately.
- Don’t ever give someone your social security number or any other personal identification numbers.
- Be careful about giving your pen pal schedule information, such as when you will be away from home or on vacation.
- Never agree to meet your pen pal in person unless your parent gives you permission and is present. Any meetings should take place in a public location.
Where to Find A Pen Pal
- pen pal exchange organizations (there are many of these online)
- family friends
- friends from camp
- neighbors or friends that move away