Saint-Didier primary school

Cycle 2 : school correspondence

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It is not easy to implement school correspondence in cycle 2, but it is worth the effort because I am convinced that the children have a lot to gain from it.

Here are my reasons for using school correspondence as a learning aid, particularly for reading and writing:

Reading is, above all, an act of communication When the children want to communicate, they will want to read or write. In this activity, the children read their own letters and write letters for a particular person.

This is a reading-writing activity with a real purpose. The children, like most people, are motivated to read or write when it is for a specific purpose or when they want to. And this is certainly the case: I was surprised at just how much cycle 2 pupils can write when it is for their penpal. Writing also contributes to reading skills. The process of reading their own letters is also a real situation, from which the children benefit.

Children learn more effectively when their minds are stimulated. School correspondence, which culminates in a meeting at the end of the year, is thus a project that involves the whole class for the whole school year.

The end-of-year meeting is a novel experience for the children: they meet people that they don't know, discover other ways of living, other regions (for example, I tried to match children living in the countryside with others living in a city). It's like an opening to the world.

This year, we are corresponding with Primary Years 1 and 2 of a school in Lyons. This was not easy to set up because they are very few cycle 2 classes looking for penpals. The children write slowly and the hardest part is maintaning a rapid rate of letter exchange. This is crucial: the children lose motivation if they do not receive replies quickly.

The exchange between the classes involves video cassettes, collective letters, but also individual letters. This last item is the hardest to put into practice.

An important issue is how to make every cycle 2 pupil write an individual letter, since many of them many cannot read. Here are the different solutions I have implemented, according to age, possibilities and the child's wishes:

The child first writes the letter himself and then I correct it for spelling mistakes.

The child dictates his letter to me.

The child dictates his letter to a cycle 3 pupil.

The child rewrites the letter himself.

The child rewrites the letter with my help.

The child types his letter on the computer.

If the writing becomes too much of an effort for the child, an adult writes part of the letter, or even all of it. The text is still the pupil's, because he has dictated it. And, even if this is difficult or time-consuming, I do it because the pupils are in a real learning situation. I can also see how much they enjoy communicating, by writing and reading.

Next year, we will start the correspondence again. I hope that we will find another class willing to get involved with us. Please get in touch if your class is interested!

Corinne Famelart

further reading

School correspondence for children ages 8-10

This page has been translated from French by Andreas Theodorou.






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summary > school > cycle 2 

Last Update :04/30/05