How to Write a Better Email
Effective communication with teachers is a skill that children must have in order to advocate for themselves. Although a face to face conversation may be an option, email is often used more frequently due to its convenience and efficiency. Therefore, it is necessary to take the time to teach children at an early age how to properly write an email. Follow these steps to teach your children this important life skill:
- Step 1: Use the right email account. Students should use their school email accounts so that teachers can easily recognize who it is from and that it is important.
- Step 2: Use the subject line wisely. Use as few words as possible to clearly articulate the topic and purpose of the email.
- Step 3: Start with a proper greeting. Since there should be some level of formality involved when a child communicates with his or her teacher, use a respectful greeting such as “Dear Miss Jones,” or “Good morning, Mrs. Jackson!”
- Step 4: Get to the point. Teachers are busy and time is precious so students should jump right into the main reason for the email. Get right to the point and ask the question or identify the problem.
- Step 5: Be specific about the issue. Instead of using general statements such as:
“I need help with science”, say “I am confused about what is due for the science assignment posted for Tuesday.”
“I don’t get it”, say “I need help with problem 12 on page 43.”
- Step 6: Demonstrate initiative. Set the expectation that children try to solve their problems on their own before they reach out to the teacher for help. Require them to include all the things they have already tried in the email, such as “Before emailing you, I reviewed my notes and rewatched the video.” or “Even after reviewing the instructions, I’m still confused about…” This helps them take responsibility for their actions.
- Step 7: End with a proper send off. Just as the beginning of the email should have a proper and respectful greeting, so should the closing. For example, a simple “Thanks for your help!” or “Have a great day!” followed by the student’s name/email signature is sufficient.
- Step 8: Edit and Review. Before students hit the “send” button, they should review what they have written to make sure it is grammatically correct without any spelling or punctuation errors. In addition, make sure the tone of the email is polite - if you wouldn’t say it to their face, don't say it. Until children become comfortable and skilled at writing proper emails, parents should review the email before they send it.
Learning proper email etiquette is a life skill that can and should be learned early on in life. As children are beginning to learn how to write emails, parents can guide them using the steps listed above.
Any questions? Please email us at Janice@Neighborhoodlit.com. Taylor Burke is a teacher and Director of Communications at Neighborhood Lit. and works closely with Janice Migliazza, a Reading Specialist and owner of Neighborhood Lit, Route 34, Colts Neck to bring you this information.