Pen Pals in your English, Humanities and Reading classes! Here are
a few suggestions.
Elementary | Middle
and High School
group literature response: Read one of the books on our list
with a reading group and print out the book's review for the group
to read and respond to. Members of the group can answer the reviewer's
questions in a group discussion or write responses individually.
Then email the group's response to the reviewer using the link provided
with each review.
Many fluent readers in the elementary grades need to work on their
comprehension skills. Have them choose a book from our list to read
and respond to when they are finished with other assignments. Our
reviews are full of great questions that encourage readers to use
these essential comprehension skills:
on their background knowledge to inform their understanding of
- making connections
between their own lives and the story and characters,
themes in a story with those in other books.
ten minutes a day to read a book listed on our site aloud to your
class. Collect your students' thoughts and their answers to the
reviewer's questions and email them to us. The reviewers would love
to hear from any number of students and are committed to writing
back to you.
pen pal yourself:
See below for how you can become a Reading Pen
and High School Teachers:
reader or writer: Often older kids who are reluctant to read
or write will sit in class during individual work time, doing very
little of the assigned work (evenor especiallyif its
very open-ended). Send them over to a computer, hook them up with
readingpenpals.com, and have them browse the letters until they
find a book theyd like to read and write about! You may find
your reluctant student requesting extra time to work on a letter
to his or her new pen pal!
or advanced reader: When a student finishes the work youve
assigned sooner than everyone else does, send her/him to readingpenpals.com
at your classroom computer.
lab sessions: Take your whole class to the computer lab once
every few weeks for a session of letter-browsing at readingpenpals.com.
You might require that everyone pick a book from our site to read
two or three times during the school year. That way everyone will
also have a pen pal and a chance to practice their writing skills.
Find the books your students choose in your school or public library*,
have kids begin reading them, and organize a letter-writing session
a week or two later. (Students can write their first letters back
to the pen pals before finishing the books.)
reading: Choose a book one of our pen pals reviewed in a letter
for your whole class to read.* As students make their way through
the book, ask everyone to write back to the class pen pal (or use
this as an extra assignment for kids who have time on their hands,
especially interesting interpretations of the book, or who need
some help drawing their thoughts out in an informal way).
who ask for book lists: Often parents request reading recommendations
for their children. Tell them about readingpenpals.com. They can
help their children access the site at home. Or they can browse
the letters themselves to find books for their kids.
a pen pal!: Contribute letters about your favorite books for
kids. (Follow the instructions
on our home page.)
your budget allows, order extra copies of the books appropriate
for your students using our book cover links. This will support
readingpenpals.com and build up your classroom library.