Teaching ESL Post Office Vocabulary & Conversations

Instructor: Amanda Wiesner-Groff

Amanda has created and taught English/ESL curricula worldwide, has an M.Ed, and is the current ESOL Coordinator for the Saint Louis Public School District.

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.


  • 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

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