snail mail or air mail

Snail Mail or Air Mail

Snail Mail or Air Mail
Target text


Read and write words that end in -ail.

See Standards

Lesson Plan

Target Words:

  • mail
  • pail
  • fail
  • tail
  • snail
  • quail
  • trail


  • Snail picture*
  • Quail picture*
  • Masking tape or chairs
  • Paper cups or bowls 
  • Mr. Snail and Mr. Quail Carry Mail in a Pail target text*

*Items included below. 


State and Model the Objective
The children will act like a snail and carry mail and then read and write words that end with -ail such as pail, trail, quail, and tail.

Literacy Activities
Be a snail that carries mail in a pail along a trail

  • Explain to the children that today they will compare snail mail (mail that moves slowly) with air mail (mail that moves quickly).
  • Ask the children if they have ever heard of the term snail mail
  • Show the children the picture of the snail (found below) and remind them that snails move very slowly.
  • Explain that we call it snail mail because the post office slowly delivers the mail.
  • Set up a trail with masking tape or chairs.
  • Staple a paper handle on a paper cup or bowl to act as a pail for each child.
  • Let the children pretend to carry mail in a pail along the trail by walking slowly like a snail. 
  • Have the children follow the trail again, this time by crawling with the pail.

Send mail by air

  • Let the children send mail via air mail by turning their mail (a piece of paper) into paper airplanes and letting them sail down the trail.
  • Optional variation: Add a paper clip at the nose of the airplane so that it is easier for the children to get the plane into the pail. 

Let a quail carry mail in a pail

  • Tell the children they can pretend to put mail in a pail that’s carried by Mr. Quail, who sails through the air.
  • Let a child hold the picture of the quail (found below) and the pail and make the quail sail down the trail to deliver the air mail.
  • Comment, “Mr. Quail delivers the mail without fail. We call him the Air Mail Quail. He’s a quail that carries mail in a pail.”

More Practice

  • Read the Mr. Snail and Mr. Quail Carry Mail in a Pail target text (found below) to the children.
  • Engage the children in reading the target text with you.
  • Have the students write two to three sentences about slow snail mail or fast quail mail using as many -ail words as possible.
Read More

SEEL Target Texts

Mr. Snail and Mr. Quail Carry Mail in a Pail

Mr. Snail carries mail on his back in a pail.
He moves slowly down the trail.
That’s why his mail is called Snail Mail.
Or you can send your mail by Air mail.
Just put your mail in Mr. Quail’s pail.
Then watch Mr. Quail sail with the mail along the trail.
He delivers the mail without fail.
That’s why he’s called the Air Mail Quail.


Read More



SEEL lessons align with Common Core Standards. Please see the standards page for the code(s) associated with this lesson.