In a semester-long, pen pal exchange between 3rd and 4th graders with college students enrolled in a Children's literature class, I wanted to engage students in critical thinking about what they read and to involve students in authentic literacy activities. Using qualitative methodology of recognizing patterns and culling themes from more than 200 letters about books, I examined the nature of the letters, categorized the kinds of questions asked, and noted the patterns of communications between the pen pal pairs in order to glean the benefits to both groups. Both elementary and college students learned about books, about themselves, and about one another.
Austin, P. (2000). Literary pen pals: Correspondence about books between university students and elementary students. Reading Horizons, 40 (4). Retrieved from http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/reading_horizons/vol40/iss4/4