A Fairfield grandmother shares her love of words and language with kids and teens using snail mail through her new creation Word Bird Delivers.
About a year ago, Terry Murphy of Ansonia noticed that her 8-year-old grandson and 9-year-old granddaughter were using more LOLs and OMGs in their conversations than actual words. Concerned, the nuclear medicine technologist and self-proclaimed “word evangelist” decided to take their language development into her own hands.
Left to right: Word Bird Delivers founder Terry Murphy with grandchildren Sophie and Max, who Murphy says helped her write the stories that accompany each delivery. Terry Murphy
Soon after, Murphy mailed a plush bird to her grandchildren with a colorful note that read “Hey! I’m the Word Bird, and I’ve planted my nest in your mailbox.” After that, she mailed them a new word each week with a short story to help them remember what the word meant, and Word Bird Delivers was born.
After a few regular visits to her grandchildren, neighbors began to take notice of Word Bird and asked Murphy for their own deliveries. Soon Word Bird was visiting a local fourth-grade classroom where the students eagerly awaited its arrival in the mail. That’s when Murphy knew she had a good idea, she says, and decided to share it with more than friends and family.
“We’re losing the love of language, and it is a powerful and necessary skill,” Murphy says. She assembled a team of vocabulary enthusiasts composed of teachers, artists, and technical gurus to get the website and business up and running.
“I get your kids or grandkids for 5 minutes a week, and I’ll do everything I can to spark their imagination and passion for words,” says Murphy, who now mails Word Birds to more than 100 kids ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade. “This is a privilege to share words with children,” Murphy says. “Definitely not a business, but a mission.”
For more information, visit wordbirddelivers.com.