Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools
SAG Foundation

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PencilPALS is a program designed to make reading and writing a first person experience for children in elementary and middle schools. Each child involved in this program has an opportunity to write and illustrate his/her own letters and stories. The childrens' letters are then mailed to a Performing Artist for Literacy in Schools. PALS are volunteer performers from the BookPALS program with whom the children can share their thoughts and school happenings. PALS write response letters to the children, and before long, inter-generational relationships prosper between the children and their PALS.

Not only do children learn the value of reading and writing through this program, but also they learn the importance of their own stories. Children blossom when given a meaningful writing purpose. They can't wait to finish a task to be allowed to write to their PAL. They may write letters, cards, notes, poems, and books. As a result of the PencilPALS program, writing and spelling skills are greatly improved, and FCAT scores increase in these areas. Reading skills are also strengthened, as children are eager to read letters from their PALS to each other and to the class.

PencilPALS teaches children to think about reading and writing in a meaningful way that they will carry with them throughout their lives. The process of writing develops their imagination and enhances reading and communication skills; illustrating promotes creativity. Imagination, creativity, and communication are the skills that help children achieve. Sharing their letters and stories with a PAL affords each child a sense of pride in his or her own writing.

Project Details:

  • PencilPALS can be implemented into the class curriculum. Teachers designate a period of time for students to read and write PencilPALS letters, stories, poems, etc.

  • Letters can be written and mailed on a schedule determined by the teacher: once a week, once every two weeks, or once a month. We ask that the cost of stamps be provided by the school; PencilPALS provide their own postage as well.

  • Each child is paired with a PencilPAL, and each pair is given a questionnaire to complete. PencilPALS and students use the completed questionnaires to get ideas for their first exchange of letters.

  • The program may culminate with a special event where PencilPALS and children meet each other in person. Some examples are lunch parties, holiday get togethers, end-of-school-year cookouts, etc. A collection of student and PencilPALS letters may be bound in book format at the end of the school year.

Letters from the Kids

Last Updated Tuesday, January 31 2012 @ 03:45 PM EST; 37,519 Hits View Printable Version

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