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ERIC Number: ED319065
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989
Pages: 11
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Pen Pals: A Beneficial Partnership.
Burk, Jill
A study examined the instructional benefits of a semester-long letter exchange between first graders and preservice teachers in a language arts methods class. When first graders exchange letters with preservice teachers, all are involved in literacy events. Pen pals at both levels benefit from this correspondence. Often the focus is on the advantages for children as they write for real purposes and to audiences other than the teacher, but the other half of the partnership (the preservice teachers) can also profit from a letter exchange . Initially, preservice teachers "look at" pen pal letters noticing handwriting, neatness, and invented spellings. They learn how to read the content, i.e., the "what" of children's writing. Soon they change their focus and begin to look more deeply into the letters for an understanding of "how" students write. They discover children's strategies for revision, for the use of space, for punctuation, and for capitalization. They see examples of risk-taking and risk-avoiding. They identify growth through experimentation. Pen pal letters allow preservice teachers a closer look at language exchanges through a meaningful writing experience. As preservice teachers build understanding about children's writing strategies and decision making, they are clearly benefiting from a pen pal partnership. (Author/MG)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A