Reading theory

Letters can get kids reading

Getting letters in the mail — snail-mail — can be a great way to get kids interested in reading.

With email and texting, kids rarely receive actual mail any more. But we all remember how much fun it is to get an envelope that’s addressed to us. (In fact, even as an adult it’s fun when it’s not a bill or a bank statement.)

A company called has a service that sends weekly letters to your child or their classroom.

The envelopes are bright and fun looking. The company let me try their service (for free) for a couple of months to try it out and I have to admit, those letters were fun to receive. The letters remind me of the ones kids get from Santa when they write to him at Christmastime (this is something we do in Canada–I’m not sure if it’s done that way in every country).

The best part is that when you open the letter, lots of great, fun stuff falls out. It might be a feather and a sticker or a cut-out, all having to do with the content of the letter.

The letters themselves are from “Sunny the Snail,” who is a “mail snail,” delivering letters to animals around the world. Each letter to your child describes a new adventure he is on.

They’re cheery, friendly, brightly illustrated and personal-sounding, as Sunny describes what he’s up to. And Sunny does get up to some wacky adventures.

Dear Joyce, Guess what? I cannot swim! And Bluebird cannot swim! But we had mail this week for TWO dolphins, Salt and Pepper. They are TWINS! Salt and Pepper live in the Atlantic Ocean, near Florida. They love to play in the water …

This would be a good gift from a grandparent or a relative who isn’t in your immediate area (short of them actually writing letters to the child each week, that is). The letters start at $20 (US) a month for four letters. You can pay $168 (US) for the entire year.

Here’s the website, where you can sign up and pay online for the service:

(There was one hitch: I live in Canada and one of the lines in a letter is “do you know where Canada is” — but I’m sure they’ll fix that going forward. Anyway, if you’re reading a letter to your child, you can just change the wording or skip that line.)

There is a ton of research that shows that the more reading material your child has, the more likely they are to be a reader. Getting letters regularly is a great way to associate “fun” with “reading.”


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