Read and Respond: A Civil War Letter

Fifth Grade Social studies Activities: Read and Respond: A Civil War Letter

What You Need:

What You Do:

  1. Print out Read and Respond: A Civil War Letter, which includes a copy of the full letter from Ballou to his wife. As your child reads the letter, ask them to put themself in Sullivan's shoes.
  2. Invite your child to notice the language Sullivan uses, and how it may differ from the way we write today. If necessary, take some time to rewrite or rephrase passages together using more contemporary English.
  3. After your child has read the letter, ask them to consider how they might feel if they were Sarah or one of Ballou's sons and were reading it for the first time. 
  4. Ask your child to then use the space on the worksheet, or a separate piece of paper, to draft a response to Ballou.
  5. When they have finished the letter, read it together. You may wish to extend the conversation by asking your child to consider how a soldier might communicate to their family today. What might be similar, and what might be different?

This activity was adapted from The Civil War Kids 150: Fifty Fun Things to Do, See, Make and Find for the 150th Anniversary.

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