A Spark Station letter – What is an onomatopoeia and using the mail to inspire

by Mary Ann on May 17, 2011

kids check mailbox picture

Children Love getting their own mail

Didn’t you just love getting a letter when you were a child. There is just something so exciting about getting a letter. It is doubly exciting now days because it happens so rarely! Getting a letter, a real “it has a stamp on it” letter makes you sit up and take notice of the contents.

When we want to inspire a child we can use a letter to share something that we love with them.  Here is a letter about reading and writing that I sent to five year old Elizabeth.

Dear Lizzy,

Do you like words? Well I do. I like knowing what words mean and how to spell them. You are just learning to write and spell and I am so excited for you because reading and writing are so fun. Did you know that I am writing a book? Well I am. It is about going to school at home. I am very excited to write it and to have other people read it.

I learned a totally new word recently. Your Aunt Kate told me about it. She loves words too. It was onomatopoeia. Whew that is a big word. Onomatopoeia is pronounced like this on-uh-mat-uh-pee-uh. So what is an onomatopoeia? It is a word that sounds like what it describes. Some examples would be the buzz of a bee (Isn’t that the sound they actually make!) or the hiss of a snake (see that is the sound that a snake makes). Another would be the tinkle of a bell or the chickadee sound of a Chickadee. That is what a little Chickadee says, chickadee. Funny huh! Or what about tickle? Maybe you and your sisters can come up with some.

Words are  really fun and I hope that you will let me know all the onomatopoeias that you can come up with. Keep reading. Keep writing and for goodness sakes write to me! : )



children check mailbox picture

Use mail to ignite a love of learning

When I first began sending the letters I wondered what the children thought about them. Let me share what happened with this one. My 20 year old daughter went to visit my married daughter for Spring break. When she arrived Lizzy, the five year old said, “I know what onomatopoeia means”. Then she gave a couple of examples. The seven year old proudly said “but I know how to spell it.” This conversation took place almost two months after I sent the original letter.

Help your children and grandchildren experience the  love of learning. Don’t be afraid to challenge them. Onomatopoeia is a very big word for a five year old but she was so proud to know what it meant.

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