A Genre Study of Letter with The Jolly Postman

This site opens to a preview/overview of the lesson and includes tabs that link to NCTE/IRA and state standards, resources and preparation, and the instructional plan with assessment. In this lesson, The Jolly Postman is used as an authentic example to discuss letter writing as a genre. Students explore the letter to the storybook characters delivered by the Jolly Postman. They learn how to categorize their own examples of mail. The Jolly Postman uses well-known storybook characters, form fairy tales and nursery rhymes, as recipients of letters. This children 2019s storybook is therefore ideal for using as a review of these genres of literature and as a means of helping children begin to explore rhyme and a variety of writing styles. Several pieces of literature appropriate for use with this lesson are suggested.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.1
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.1
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.3
Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.6
Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal precise actions,...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.1
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.2
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.3
Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.5
Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.5.6
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when appropriate to task and situation. (See grade 5 Language standards 1...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.1
Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.5
With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new...
GLE 0301.1.1
Demonstrate knowledge of Standard English usage, mechanics, and spelling.
GLE 0301.3.2
Write in various modes and genres, including narration, literary response, personal experience, and subject matter content.
GLE 0401.1.1
Demonstrate knowledge of Standard English usage, mechanics, and spelling.
GLE 0401.1.2
Demonstrate knowledge of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, and usage of words and phrases.
GLE 0401.3.2
Write in a variety of modes and genres (e.g., narration, description, personal expression, imaginative writing, response to literature, response to subject...
GLE 0501.1.1
Demonstrate knowledge of Standard English usage, mechanics, and spelling.
GLE 0501.3.1
Write for a variety of purposes and to different audiences.
GLE 0501.3.2
Write in various modes and genres, including narration, literary response, personal expression, description, and imaginative.
GLE 0501.3.3
Know and apply the steps of the writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, evaluating, and publishing.
GLE 0501.8.3
Understand the basic characteristics of the genres (e.g., narratives, prose, poetry, drama) studied.
GLE 0601.3.4
Refine strategies for editing and revising written work.
SPI 0401.1.12
Select appropriate antonyms, synonyms, and homonyms within context.
SPI 0401.1.13
Recognize and use grade appropriate vocabulary within context.
SPI 0401.3.8
Select appropriate time-order or transitional words to enhance the flow of a writing sample.
SPI 0401.8.6
Identify and interpret similes and metaphors.
SPI 0501.1.15
Recognize and use grade appropriate vocabulary within context.
SPI 0501.1.2
Identify the correct use of verbs (i.e., action/linking, regular/irregular, agreement, tenses) within context.
SPI 0501.3.10
Select appropriate time-order or transitional words/phrases to enhance the flow of a writing sample.
TSS.ELA.3.W.TTP.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using an effective technique, such as descriptive details and clear event sequences.
TSS.ELA.4.FL.WC.4
Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills when encoding words; write legibly.
TSS.ELA.4.W.TTP.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information.
TSS.ELA.4.W.TTP.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using an effective technique, such as descriptive details and clear event sequences.
TSS.ELA.5.FL.SC.6
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when speaking and conventions of standard English grammar and usage, including...
TSS.ELA.5.FL.WC.4
Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills when encoding words; write legibly.
TSS.ELA.5.RI.CS.5
Compare and contrast the overall structure of events, ideas, and concepts of information in two or more texts.
TSS.ELA.5.RL.CS.5
Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fit together to provide the overall structure of particular texts.
TSS.ELA.5.SL.PKI.6
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when appropriate to task and situation.
TSS.ELA.5.W.PDW.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
TSS.ELA.5.W.PDW.5
With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
TSS.ELA.5.W.TTP.1
Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
TSS.ELA.5.W.TTP.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using an effective technique, such as descriptive details and clear event sequences.
 
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
 
Learning objectives: 

Students will:

  • read and discuss The Jolly Postman. 
  • explore characters from well-known stories. 
  • examine parts of a letter. 
  • research the different genres of mail. 
  • categorize letters from The Jolly Postman by looking at their attributes. 
  • demonstrate an understanding of parts of letters and letter genres by writing original letters.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Applying
Extension suggestions: 
  • Share The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg (Little Brown & Co, 2001) or another picture book that focuses on letters with your class. As a chapter-book read-aloud, share Beverly Cleary's Dear Mr. Henshaw.
  • As an alternative to letter writing, use the interactive Postcard Creator to create original postcards. After printing their text, students can illustrate the front of the cards using markers or other art supplies. 
  • Use the ReadWriteThink lesson plan Who's Got Mail? Using Literature to Promote Authentic Letter Writing to structure additional letter writing activities in your classroom.

Helpful Hints

Materials:

  • The Jolly Postman and Other People's Letters by Janet Ahlberg and Allen Ahlberg (Little Brown 1986)
  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Examples of Letters
  • Picture Books That Feature Letters

References

Contributors: