“Writing a letter can change the world.”
~Riley Morrison, 9 years old, regarding her letter to 2-time NBA most valuable player Stephen Curry.
It’s a new world these days and we here at Letters Aloud can only imagine the complications Covid-19 has imposed upon you this school year. Please know that we believe in you, we support you, and more than anything, we want to help.
In the spirit of being in this together, we’re excited to announce our brand-new, literacy engagement program, BE THE CHANGE. A powerful reminder that writing a single letter can genuinely change the world, this engaging online course breathes life into letters written by such historical and contemporary luminaries as Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, Tom Hanks, and Mindy Kaling (to name but a few). Read aloud by professional actors and enthusiastic students alike, these letters bring humanity to history by showing the true power of the written word.
We really are here to help. And we sincerely hope that BE THE CHANGE, with its engaging video presentation, detailed Lesson Plan, and in-depth Educator Resource Guide will be the spark that ignites your student’s desire to make their voices — the future voices of our country — heard loudly and clearly.
For more information on this exciting new program, please see our information guide below. Meanwhile, thank you for all you do. You truly are modern day superheroes and we salute you.
Yours most sincerely,
The Letters Aloud Team
BE THE CHANGE Info guide
BE THE CHANGE is a brand-new educational program, designed for middle school students, that brings humanity to history—one letter at a time.
“Curry 6” shoe insole designed by 4th grader, Riley Morrison.
(Because of her letter to Stephen Curry.)
1. BE THE CHANGE VIDEO (5th-8th grade)
A 2-part, 40-minute video presentation dramatizing how young people throughout history have instigated positive change by writing letters to their heroes. BE THE CHANGE encourages the individual agency of young people in the world by demonstrating that the writing of a single letter can have wide-ranging impact.
Among the many letters in this program, Stan Lee makes good on a decades-old promise, a 9-year-old hoopster consults Stephen Curry on his shoe empire, a teen aged Tom Hanks tries to get “discovered”, and Ronald Reagan tells a 7th grader to clean his room.
2. EDUCATOR RESOURCE GUIDE
- Synopsis of each letter and why it was written.
- Brief history of letter writing and its continued impact.
- Breakdown of different kinds of letters that can be written.
- Historical overview of the U.S. Postal Service.
3. LESSON PLAN
- In-depth study guide to the BE THE CHANGE video.
- Detailed workshop in which students will be guided to write a handwritten letter to their “hero”, in the hopes of affecting change.
- Teacher-guided session where students can read their finished “letters aloud” in class.
Civil rights, LGBTQ issues, racial profiling, teenage depression, perseverance, following your bliss, and how to get a certain beloved U.S. President to grow out his beard.
BE THE CHANGE is aligned with Common Core State Standards in ELA and Literacy in History/Social Studies, as well as state standards in performing arts.
- Our lesson plan is designed to cover up to five (5) 40-minute class sessions but can easily be condensed to your teacher’s needs.
- Our 40-minute video is broken down into two 20-minute sections easily shown all at once or in two separate viewings.
- The BE THE CHANGE video is curated and hosted by Letters Aloud founder, Paul Stetler and includes both professional actors as well as actual student voices reading each letter.
- The BE THE CHANGE video includes dynamic images of the letter writers as well as the actual letters and historical context of each letter, why it was written, and the change that occurred as a result.
- Once students write their letters, they will be encouraged to read them aloud in class in order to better share with their teachers and peers what they are passionate about.
- Students will be encouraged to mail their letters via the USPS.
- Teachers (and students) are encouraged to share images of student letters with Letters Aloud as a way to amplify their impact. You can follow us on Instagram (@lettersaloud) and tag us in your post, as well as add the hashtag #lettersaloud.
- For an additional fee, founder and curator Paul Stetler is available for a live Q&A or Letters Aloud workshop with your students.
- Scripts for BE THE CHANGE as well as some of our other shows are also available for licensing as an in-class or public performance opportunity.
Ready to book?
For questions, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.