A world of words - letters from Manyallaluk

Queen Elizabeth and Essendon Football Club megastars have been recipients of letters from junior and senior primary students at Manyallaluk School.

The remote school — north-east of Katherine — is using the strategy to help children feel excited about writing by creating authentic writing experiences.

Teaching principal Ben Kleinig said students once demonstrated “significant reluctance to writing”, but the responses to the letters are generating “real excitement and an eagerness to keep writing”.

 “We slowly introduced letter writing last term, and then realised its potential,” he said. “The kids chose their favourite football players, and The Queen — someone pretty popular with our students.

“The enthusiasm is being translated into more effort, greater self-belief, a have-a-go mentality and more time devoted to writing. One outstanding improvement is in kids gaining the confidence to move away from copying the teacher, instead being brave enough to sound out words and be open to feedback. It's part of our learning that mistakes are okay, that's how we learn, and that attitude is catching-on.

“Children wear big smiles and jump for joy when replies to their letters arrive. I estimate that up to 40 letters have been written, and the possibilities are limitless.

“In her letter to The Queen, our Grade 2 student Alice wrote: ‘Dear Queen Elizabeth. Did you have a birthday cake? Old Mary was sitting down drinking a cup of tea watching the dogs chase a buffalo. But don't worry, she can ran fast. From Alice’.”

The children were delighted with the response from Essendon Football Club, and Mary Robinson, Lady-in-Waiting to Queen Elizabeth (862.7 kb).

(Picture: Students Hadassah Ashley-Brumby, Nathan Alangale, Aralise Fredricks, Alice Fredricks, Dastan Wurramarrba, Susan Lawrence with gifts from Essendon FC, and Ben Kleinig (back))

Last updated: 16 October 2017