Teaching ESL Post Office Vocabulary & Phrases

When it comes to teaching conversation skills to ESL students, lessons should not only cover vocabulary that will be used, but also provide opportunity for real practice. This lesson will go over the vocabulary and phrases required for a successful conversation at a post office.

The Power of Practice

In many English as a second language (ESL) classrooms, you find students pouring over textbooks full of word banks and dialogue examples. Students may read these dialogues together as a class, in groups, and then in pairs to practice how that particular conversation might take place.

While this can be beneficial for an initial introduction to a new theme or topic, it is not enough to ensure language acquisition. It’s important to include opportunities for authentic contextual dialogue within each language lesson. The more possibilities students have to apply the English language to real-life scenarios, even in the classroom, the more comfortable they will feel when a true opportunity for an English conversation arises.

Post Office Vocabulary

Before students are asked to participate in a conversation using post office vocabulary, they need to learn the necessary terms. Vocabulary should be introduced, explained, and regularly reviewed. Use formal and informal assessments to check for comprehension–have students quiz you, quiz each other, and inform you of the post office terms they do (or do not) understand. It’s essential to ensure that students comprehend the vocabulary before conversation activities. Otherwise, conversations will become overwhelming, confusing, and intimidating.

Now, let’s go over the vocabulary and phrases that are needed for students to maintain a successful conversation at a post office before we explore activities you can use to reinforce the learning.

Items/People

  • Letter
  • Postcard
  • Mail
  • Post office box (P.O. box)
  • Stamp
  • Commemorative stamp
  • Junk mail
  • Personal mail
  • Postal money order
  • Mailman
  • Courier
  • Parcel
  • Bulk mail
  • Envelope
  • Postal clerk
  • Postbox
  • Tape
  • Mailbox

Additional Terms

  • Air mail
  • Recipient
  • Buy
  • Sea mail
  • Sign for
  • Postage
  • Freight
  • Delivery
  • Address
  • Tracking
  • Return address
  • Zip code
  • Insurance
  • Pick up
  • Send
  • Priority
  • Flat rate
  • Return Address

Post Office Phrases

Once students are familiar with a majority of these vocabulary terms, you can begin introducing questions and phrases to help prepare them for conversations. Be sure to model a variety of different scenarios first so students are familiar with the manner in which different terms and phrases can be used.

Customer Phrases

  • I would like to mail a package to (location).
  • I have to pick up a package from (sender’s name).
  • May I please buy some (stamps, envelopes, boxes)?
  • How much does it cost for (amount) stamps?
  • I would like to send this package in a flat rate box.
  • Where do I write the address and the return address?
  • How do I check the post office box for mail?
  • Can I mail this (package, letter, postcard) from this post office?
  • How much does insurance cost for this package to (location)?
  • How long will it take for a package to (location) to be delivered?
  • I would like to send this letter by (air, land, sea, priority)

Postal Worker Phrases

  • How would you like to ship this (package, letter, postcard)?
  • Would you like to buy any (stamps, envelopes, boxes)?
  • Where would you like to send this (letter, parcel, postcard)?
  • Do you want to buy insurance for this parcel?
  • Would you like to know your tracking number for this (parcel, box, letter)?
  • Do you want to send this by air or by sea?
  • Who is the recipient of this package?
  • Can you please fill out the sender’s address?
  • How many (stamps, envelopes, boxes) would you like?
  • Is there anything else I can help you with?

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Author: Karina sanchez

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