The Correspondence Project: A Lesson of Letters
- Resources & Preparation
- Instructional Plan
- Related Resources
Students practice writing effective letters for a variety of real-life situations, such as responding to a prompt on a standardized test, corresponding with distant family members, or communicating with a business. They begin by reviewing the differences between business and friendly letter formats, using examples and a Venn diagram. Next, students write two letters, choosing from a list of prompts that include letters for varying audiences and purposes. After completing drafts and revisions, students complete their final versions using an online tool.
Letter Generator : This online tool allows students to read about the parts of a letter. They can then write and print their own friendly or business letter. Interactive Venn Diagram : Use this online tool to organize ideas for a compare and contrast essay, or while reading to compare and contrast two works of literature.
From Theory to Practice
In Both Art and Craft: Teaching Ideas That Spark Learning , Diana Mitchell explains that teaching is "about gently uncovering ways for students to find their way into the learning by making connections within themselves" (23). Students are more likely to "find their way into learning" when assignments have clear application to real-world tasks. As Mitchell explains it, these types of assignments, "have a ‘nowness' about them; there is a reason for an importance to doing them at this point in time" (24). In addition, personal connections are made more easily when students have a degree of choice within a writing assignment. Mitchell triumphs assignments that "are fun and interesting," as well as those that "provide lots of possibilities and tap into . . . imagination" (24). In that spirit, this lesson in letter writing provides a functional application for writing and, at the same time, encourages students to make personal connections through a variety of letter topics. Further Reading
Common Core Standards
This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.
This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.
NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts
- 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
- 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
- 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
- 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
- 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
- 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
- 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).
Materials and Technology
Computers with Internet access for student use
- Contemplating Correspondence
- Contemplating Correspondence Key
- Correspondence Project Prompts
- Business and Friendly Letter Samples
- Rubric for Correspondence Project
- Venn Diagram
- Review the Correspondence Project Prompts and determine the requirements for the class. Decide on the number of letters students will write as well as any letters that you will require. You may wish to choose specific prompts to ensure that students write at least one letter using business format and one using friendly format. You can also require 2 letters and allow students to choose additional letters freely.
- Venn Diagram handout (if computer access is not available)
- Make one copy of the Contemplating Correspondence Key for yourself.
- Make overhead transparencies of the Business and Friendly Letter Samples and the Venn Diagram handout (needed only if computer access is not available).
- Test the interactive Venn Diagram and Letter Generator on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tools and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page .
- review examples of business and friendly letters.
- compare business and friendly letter formats.
- write letters in response to specific writing prompts.
- apply knowledge of language structure and conventions.
- adjust their use of writing conventions, style, and vocabulary for a variety of audiences and purposes.
- Distribute copies of the Contemplating Correspondence sheet.
- Explain that most questions have more than one “correct” answers. Suggest that students leave any questions that they are unsure about blank and return to them after the class discussion of the sheets.
- Allow students a few minutes to respond.
- Review the students' responses to the Contemplating Correspondence sheet, using the questions as a springboard for a brief class discussion about writing letters. Refer to the Contemplating Correspondence Key to ensure students recognize the most basic details.
- Tell students that they will be completing a letter writing project. Before writing the letters, however, they will review standard business and friendly letter formats.
- Discuss the difference between the friendly letter format and a friendly tone. Explain that people can use the friendly letter format for letters that have a more formal tone (e.g., a condolence letter to someone the author does not know well).
- Share the Friendly Letter Sample by distributing copies to students, and displaying the sample using an overhead transparency.
- Have students take turns reading the body of the letter aloud.
- Identify the main parts of a friendly letter (heading, greeting, body, closing, and signature) by allowing student volunteers to take turns using a non-permanent transparency marker to label each of the five main parts. Ask students to label their handouts in the same manner.
- Use Writing the Basic Business Letter from the Purdue OWL to supplement the discussion of the parts of letters.
- Review the information covered in Session One by asking students what they remember about friendly letter format.
- Tell students that during this session, they will be reviewing business letter format.
- Ask students if business letter format is for use only by businesses. Use student responses as a springboard for discussion on the various uses for business letters (e.g., applying for employment, expressing a consumer complaint to company).
- Share the Business Letter Sample by distributing copies to students and displaying the sample by using an overhead transparency.
- Identify the main parts of a business letter (heading, inside address, greeting, body, closing, and signature) by allowing student volunteers to take turns using a non-permanent transparency marker to label each of the six main parts. Instruct students to label their handouts in the same manner.
- Again, you can use Writing the Basic Business Letter from the Purdue OWL to supplement the discussion of the parts of letters.
- Discuss the differences between the full-block and modified-block formats. Point to the additional sample letters from the Purdue OWL or Sample Complaint Letter to discuss the formats.
- Have students compare friendly and business letter formats using the interactive Venn Diagram . Teachers also may wish to have students complete a separate Venn Diagram to compare and contrast full-block and modified-block formats. If computer access is not available, distribute copies of the Venn Diagram handout to students and display the diagram using an overhead transparency. Allow students to complete the diagram together by allowing student volunteers to take turns using a non-permanent transparency maker to identify common and dissimilar traits between the two letter formats. Students should follow along by filling in their own diagrams on their handouts.
- Distribute the Correspondence Project Prompts and the Rubric for Correspondence Project to students. Explain the requirements you have chosen for the project, giving students details on the number of letters they should write and any required prompts they must respond to.
- Review the Rubric for Correspondence Project and ensure that students understand the expectations for the project.
- In the remaining time, have students begin the process of choosing letters to write and drafting their correspondence. Explain that students will continue this work during the next class session.
- Review the Correspondence Project Prompts and the Rubric for Correspondence Project . Answer any questions regarding the project.
- Tell students that the goal for this session is to complete drafts of at least two letters.
- Make newspapers, scissors, and tape available to students for use with the first prompt (a job application letter).
- Circulate among students as they work, and assist as needed.
- Students who require extra time to complete their drafts should do so as homework.
- Check for completion of at least two letters.
- Review the Correspondence Project Prompts and the Rubric for Correspondence Project .
- Tell students that the goal for this session is to complete drafts for the remaining letters.
- Students who require extra time to complete their letters should do so as homework.
- Ask students to bring all completed drafts with them to the next class session.
- Review the Rubric for Correspondence Project .
- Introduce students to the interactive Letter Generator , and explain that they will be revising their drafts and using this tool to create final versions of their work.
- Allow students time to revise their drafts. Revision options are endless and open to teacher preference. Students may proofread and revise independently, through “pair and share” edit sessions with classmates, or by basing revisions on teacher remarks and comments if the teacher wishes to collect the drafts prior to Session Five and return them with comments at the beginning of the session.
- Students should complete their draft revisions and create final versions using the interactive Letter Generator .
- If needed, add a sixth session to the lesson to allow students time to complete their letters using the interactive Letter Generator .
- Communicating on Local Issues: Exploring Audience in Persuasive Letter Writing
- Draft Letters: Improving Student Writing through Critical Thinking
- E-pals Around the World
- Exploring Literature through Letter-Writing Groups
- Persuading an Audience: Writing Effective Letters to the Editor
- Worth Its Weight: Letter Writing with “The Things They Carried”
- Consider introducing pen pals or “key pals” into your classroom community. Many programs are available online and can easily be located through most of the popular search engines using the keyword search “school pen pals.”
- Depending on the grade and skill level of students, a mini-lesson on properly addressing an envelope and folding a letter might be a worthwhile addition to this project.
- Use the online interactive Postcard Creator as a lesson extension or letter alternative. Many of the friendly letter prompts would adapt easily to a postcard format.
- The EDSITEment lesson I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Someone a Letter offers a collection of historically significant letters and can provide a useful extension to this lesson.
Student Assessment / Reflections
- Assess students’ understanding of the purposes and formats of business and friendly letters through observation and anecdotal notes of student participation during classroom discussions.
- Assess students’ use of interactive tools through observation and anecdotal notes of student work while using the interactive tools.
- Check for proper completion of the interactive Venn Diagram contrasting letter formats.
- Use the Rubric for Correspondence Project to assess the letters students have written.
- Student Interactives
- Calendar Activities
The Letter Generator is a useful tool for students to learn the parts of a business or friendly letter and then compose and print letters for both styles of correspondence.
The Postcard Creator helps students learn to identify all the typical parts of a postcard, and then generate their own postcard messages by typing information into letter templates. After printing their texts, students can illustrate the front of their postcards in a variety of ways, including drawing, collage, and stickers.
This interactive tool allows students to create Venn diagrams that contain two or three overlapping circles, enabling them to organize their information logically.
Add new comment
- Print this resource
Explore Resources by Grade
- Kindergarten K
- Arts & Music
- English Language Arts
- World Language
- Social Studies - History
- Holidays / Seasonal
- Independent Work Packet
- Easel by TPT
- Google Apps
Interactive resources you can assign in your digital classroom from TPT.
Unlock access to 4 million resources — at no cost to you — with a school-funded subscription..
writing a letter to future self
Resource types, all resource types, results for writing a letter to future self.
- Price (Ascending)
- Most Recent
Write a Letter to Yourself | Back to School Writing Activity
New Year & End of Year Writing Prompt- Dear Future Self...
The Future-You Project
- Word Document File
End of Year Activity - Letter to My Future Self Freebie - Distance Learning
Also included in: English Curriculum for the Entire Year Bundle - CCSS Aligned for Grades 8 & 9
FREEBIE! Grade 6: Letter Writing to Future Self Lesson Plan
Letter to Yourself - Back to School Writing - Letter to Me - Friendly Letter
First Day of School Writing Activity - A LETTER TO ME...
Write a Letter to Your Future Self
Self-Evaluation Reflection Forms for Students, Editable, FREE
Also included in: Writing Curriculum, Narrative, Explanatory, Argumentative, Research BUNDLE
Letter to Your Future Self
Wrting Assignment: Letter to your future self
Dear Future Self: activity for goal setting, reflection, & reputation.
Letter to Future Self Essay Assignment
- Portable Network Graphics
Letter to future self
Letter To My Future Self
Letter to Future Self
A Letter to My Future Self Activity
Letter to My Future Self
Letter to my Future Self
Write A Letter to Your Senior Self (Beginning of the Year Icebreaker)
Also included in: Back to School ELA Bundle (Great to Pair w/ Icebreakers in the First Few Weeks!)
Memory / Future Self Letters
Writing Letters Activity_ Write the Future You a Letter (Beginning of the Year)
TPT empowers educators to teach at their best.
- We're Hiring
- Help & FAQ
- Terms of Service
- Trademark & Copyright
Keep in Touch!
Are you getting the free resources, updates, and special offers we send out every week in our teacher newsletter?
- Sign Up Individual School
Letter-Writing Lessons & Tips
Letters take many forms and serve a variety of purposes. Give your students practice with the fine art of letter writing using one or more of the following activities. You'll find formatting tips and strategies for teaching your students the basics of different types of letter-writing (like persuasive, business, and friendly), and also plenty of lesson plans to put their newfound knowledge into practice. Letter Writing Week is celebrated in January.
- Most Popular
- Most Recent
Organizing a Letter
- Let's Write the Author
- Persuasive Letter Graphic Organizer
- Writing a Letter to Persuade (Gr. 1)
- Writing a Persuasive Letter (Gr. 2)
- Writing a Persuasive Letter (Gr. 3)
Formatting a Letter
- Independent Letter-Writing Activities
- A Letter to a Friendly Monster
- The Parts of a Letter
- Write a Cover Letter That Sells
- Write a Persuasive Letter
- Katie Kazoo Classroom Crew Letters
- Father's Day Letter
- World War II: Letter to the President
- First Year Letters Classroom Activities
- More Letter-Writing Activities
- Scoring Rubric: Resume and Cover Letter
- Scoring Rubric: Business Letter/Memo
- Write a Letter to Jesse Owens
- Write a Letter to the President
- Benjamin Banneker's Letter
- Letter for Great Mail Race
- Sample Letter to Representatives
- Abigail Adams Writes a Letter
- Patricia Polacco, Author and Illustrator
- Charlotte's Web Persuasive Letter
- Letter to My Favorite Author
- Questions About Your Future: Writing a Personal Letter
- Letter Writing
- Writing a Thank-You Letter
In order to continue enjoying our site, we ask that you confirm your identity as a human. Thank you very much for your cooperation.
15 Friendly Letter Writing Prompts For Kids
Learning to write a friendly letter can be fun! Once students understand the format and basic parts of a friendly letter, the rest is open for creativity. The unique prompts listed below give students a chance to practice their letter writing skills in a creative and imaginative way! Hopefully, this will make the learning process more engaging and memorable.
1. Write a letter your past self. Describe three things you wish you had known when you were younger.
2. Write a letter to yourself in ten years. State three things you want your future self to remember from the past.
3. Write a letter to your pet (or a pet you had in the past). Tell your pet two things they do well and one thing they could improve.
4. Write a letter to your city mayor. State a problem in your city, and ask them to help you fix it.
5. Write a letter to your parents. Tell them about a big goal you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it.
6. Write a letter to someone you admire. State at least two reasons why you admire that person and how their actions have changed your life.
7. Write to the chef at your favorite restaurant. Describe your favorite dish, state two reasons why you like it, and one thing you would change.
8. Write a letter to a character in your favorite book or movie. Predict the future for that character. State two positive things and one negative thing that will happen in their future.
9. Write a thank-you letter to someone from history . Tell the person why you think they are important and how they made the world a better place.
10. Write a letter to your teacher. Describe something you enjoyed learning about this year.
11. Write a letter to someone in another country. Describe something you like about your country and something about your country you wish would change.
12. Write a letter to a friend. Tell them three reasons why you appreciate their friendship.
Friendly Letter Writing Lesson For Elementary & Middle School
13. Write a letter to an alien from another planet. Tell them three things they should know about Earth before they visit.
14. Write a letter to the school principal. Convince him or her to change a school rule. Give at least three reasons why the rule should change.
15. Write a letter to the owner of a local amusement park. Describe your idea for a new ride.
*Are you also teaching your students to write a business letter? Click here for 10 student-friendly business letter writing prompts.
5 Proven Letter Writing Activities to Boost Your Lessons
I have 5 Proven Letter Writing Activities that boost student engagement and hit the mark with second and third-grade writing standards!
Are you an elementary teacher who wants to teach your students letter writing skills through engaging activities that will promote the love of writing? Yes, producing students that write letters on their own!
I’ve taught second through fourth grades for the last twenty-some years. Throughout this time, I’ve enjoyed teaching writing the most. So I’m constantly looking for creative ways to foster the love of writing within my students.
I’m sure you feel the same way if you’re reading this post.
Something I’ve learned throughout this time is that students have a voice and want to use it. They need a little support and encouragement in using their writing voice. But once they have it, there’s no limit!
Yes, that’s teacher heaven right there. Every Teacher Everywhere
One way I support and encourage student writing is through Friendly Letter Writing Activities. The following activities are a mixture of whole-class instruction, small group collaboration, and peer discussions.
The activities will skyrocket your student’s desire to write in no time at all.
The search is over. Here’s a new and creative way to boost your writing lessons with an old-school tradition.
Friendly Letter Writing Workspace
Before introducing any of the Letter Writing Activities, I set the stage. It’s just a little touch of anticipation that motivates students to participate in writing instruction.
I also suggest setting up a Letter Writing Center with all the bells and whistles. I include a mailbox, stationary, stamps, envelopes, letter writing anchor charts, and graphic organizers.
Next to the Letter Writing Center are the Letter Writing Read-Aloud Books. I suggest keeping the books close by to offer inspiration when needed.
I look at the Letter Writing Center as the second and third-grade version of the kindergarten playhouse. Don’t you think older kids need a creative space as well? I sure do!
The Student Hook for FREE!
You can check out my FREE Letter Writing Post Office here . After signing up, you’ll have all the materials needed to excite your students and then maintain their enthusiasm for letter writing.
Then, introduce the activity with regular routines and expectations of the Writing Post Office. I hope the first and most crucial expectation will be to use it!
Yes, that expectation is just a sneaky way to get the students in front of the anchor charts, writing rubric, and checklist needed to support excellent writing.
Now, if you’re a bit “extra,” you may even use the FREE Letter Writing Post Office and create individual desk-sized Post Offices!
Whole-Class Letter Writing Activities
To truly improve student writing, there must be an element of direct instruction.
The necessary lessons on writing structures, using your voice, and so much more are essential.
For me, this is a time for whole-class instruction before the students even begin to write.
My whole must-have class activities are note-taking, peer discussions, and color-coding the text.
Note-taking on Letter Writing Features
Next, I provide the necessary background information on friendly letter writing, the students take brief notes in a straightforward graphic organizer. The notes then become a source of reference to support their letter writing in action.
Pre-Writing Peer Discussions
So, I encouraged students to discuss their learning with peers. The more discussion opportunities, the better the writing.
As you teach the Friendly Letter Writing Unit, students are provided with small chunk-sized mini-lessons, each with several peer discussion opportunities.
The peer discussions allow students to verbalize their thoughts. Students then gain perspectives of others, receive feedback, and adjust previous thinking.
All of which leads to stronger writing.
An example of peer discussions is discussing the topic of a letter with a peer before committing to the writing.
Students share and build upon each other’s ideas. All topics are thought out, supported, and explained before starting to write.
Once the student takes the discussion to write, the overall outcome is much more developed.
It’s like giving students a “practice” round before putting in the extra effort to develop the writing.
I had a friend once say, “always take it to the writing stage.”
“Talk it out before you write it out.” M. Qualle
Color-Coding the Text Activity
Finally, my favorite whole-class pre-writing activity is Color-Coding the Text. If you’re not familiar with this, here are the basics.
First, you provide a mentor text to read together. Then as a class, and eventually independently, the students highlight each feature of Letter Writing structure with a different color.
Students love this pre-writing activity because (you know), well, highlighters, of course!
In our situation, Friendly Letter Writing Activities, the students highlight the heading in purple, the greeting in green, the body in yellow, the closing in red, and finally, the signature in blue.
Yes, the students have engaged, plus the finished product is so easy for you to scan for check for understanding quickly.
Can you say, a total win-win?!
Letter Writing Practice Worksheet
In my opinion, there’s one single Lette worksheet that must be present for students to be successful. That’s the graphic organizer.
You can pick up your FREE letter writing graphic organizer found within the Letter Writing Post Office Kit .
The graphic organizer worksheet is the single most crucial worksheet in the letter writing unit.
Students will need to have the letter-writing structure down to pat to write letters independently. So I believe in scaffolding the graphic organizer.
Plus, I use the graphic organizer at the beginning with heavy support. Over time, I slowly remove the scaffolds to encourage student independence.
As the students become more efficient with their letter writing skills, the graphic organizer has fewer supports. Eventually, students will not need the graphic organizer.
Letter Writing Activities for a Center
There are numerous fun and engaging Letter Writing Activities for your centers. In this post, I have two that are my go-to for Letter Writing Skills.
Letter Writing Match-Up Activity
Also, use the Letter Writing Match-Up Activity with pairs of students or with small groups. The goal of the writing activity is to match three puzzle pieces together.
Each set will be one feature of the Letter Writing Structure. Students will need to check the vocabulary term, the definition, and an example together.
Heading matches includes the reader address and date, which then matches with, 2416 First Street, Ceres, CA 95386
The beauty of this activity is that students need to check one another’s work, which is more practice with the letter-writing structure.
Letter Writing Choice Board
The Letter Writing Choice Board is an array of 12 different letter writing prompts. I assign this activity in centers or as Early Finishers Work. With twelve writing prompts, students are busy writing.
I use the Choice Board throughout each month to save me time. (Fin!)
Another benefit of using the choice board is it gives students an actual choice!
Yes, we don’t have to dictate everything! Who knew?
That’s right, allowing students the choice in writing will definitely pay off in the quality of the student writing.
An interesting writing prompt equals quality writing.
Digital Letter Writing Activities
However, Letter Writing Activities are not always pen-to-paper. Oh no, not in the world we live in today. We also have letter writing through email. With 3 million emails sent every second, teaching our young students the letter structure is essential.
Now, I still believe in students learning how the print and write in cursive. So I use a delicate balance of digital and printable resources. If you’re like me and want both the digital and printable Friendly Letter Writing Unit , you can check it out here .
(Here’s a little side note. Did you know you can print the slides in Google Slides? Use 8.5 X 11-inch slides.
The most ideal Digital Letter Writing Activities found in my Friendly Letter Writing Unit are:
- Note-Taking Activities
- Peer Brainstorming
- Graphic Organizers
- Writing Checklists
- Check for Understanding
Also, the listed digital activities are short and quick, which is usually not too overwhelming for young students who may not be proficient at typing yet. (Trust me, fast and simple will save you your sanity.)
In addition, I have a related post, How to Teach Friendly Letter Writing, with 3 Key Elements that you may want to check out.
There you have it. Five Letter Writing Activities to Boost your lessons now. Just like that, once you introduce letter writing using these activities, there’s no stopping them. Letter Writing Activities will hook your students for life!
Also, I offer a course for teachers to transform their students’ writing through letter-writing, called Elevate with Letter Writing. You can check out all the course goodness here .
Are your students struggling and making very little progress in writing? Or maybe they’re unmotivated or a reluctant writer? If so, I’ve got your back.
Let me share my secret sauce when it comes to teaching writing to elementary students.
It’s the Sentences, Paragraphs, and Essays: OH, MY! E-book.
Click this link to learn more about how the E-Book can transform your students’ chicken scratch, hap-hazard writing into strong, effective, glorious writing!
Hi, I'm Melissa!
I help elementary writing teachers motivate students through guided instructional resources that students love!
Together we will engage and support young writers in their writing journey.
Get your free Resources here!
FREE Guide to Teaching Reluctant Writers
Join the email list and I’ll send you a FREE guide to teaching reluctant writers. Plus, I have a FREE Writing Craft to get you started.
- Featured Articles
- Report Card Comments
- Needs Improvement Comments
- Teacher's Lounge
- New Teachers
- Our Bloggers
- Article Library
- Featured Lessons
- Every-Day Edits
- Lesson Library
- Emergency Sub Plans
- Character Education
- Lesson of the Day
- 5-Minute Lessons
- Learning Games
- Lesson Planning
- Subjects Center
- Teaching Grammar
- Leadership Resources
- Parent Newsletter Resources
- Advice from School Leaders
- Programs, Strategies and Events
- Principal Toolbox
- Administrator's Desk
- Interview Questions
- Professional Learning Communities
- Teachers Observing Teachers
- Tech Lesson Plans
- Science, Math & Reading Games
- Tech in the Classroom
- Web Site Reviews
- Creating a WebQuest
- Digital Citizenship
- Featured PD Courses
- Classroom Management
- Responsive Classroom
- School Climate
- Dr. Ken Shore: Classroom Problem Solver
- Professional Development Resources
- Graduate Degrees For Teachers
- Worksheet Library
- Highlights for Children
- Venn Diagram Templates
- Reading Games
- Word Search Puzzles
- Math Crossword Puzzles
- Geography A to Z
- Holidays & Special Days
- Internet Scavenger Hunts
- Student Certificates
- Tools & Templates
Newsletter Sign Up
- General Archive
- Health & Safety
- Language Arts
- PE & Sports
- Social Science
- Special Ed & Guidance
- Special Themes
- Top LP Features
- Article Archive
- User Submitted LPs
- Box Cars Math Games
- Every Day Edits
- Five Minute Fillers
- Holiday Lessons
- News for Kids
- ShowBiz Science
- Student Engagers
- Work Sheet Library
- More LP Features
- Calculator Lessons
- Coloring Calendars
- Friday Fun Lessons
- Math Machine
- Month of Fun
- Reading Machine
- Tech Lessons
- Writing Bug
- All Work Sheets
- Critical Thinking Work Sheets
- Animals A to Z
- EveryDay Edits
- Hunt the Fact Monster
- It All Adds Up Math Puzzles
- Make Your Own Work Sheets
- Math Cross Puzzles
- Mystery State
- Math Practice 4 You
- Phonics Word Search Puzzles
- Readers Theater Scripts
- Sudoku Puzzles
- Back to School
- Back to School Archive
- Icebreaker Activities
- Preparing for the First Day
- Ideas for All Year
- The Homework Dilemma
- First Year Teachers
- Don't Forget the Substitute
- More Great Ideas for the New School Year
- Early Childhood
- Best Books for Educators
- Award Certificates
- Bulletin Board Resources
- Classroom Organizers
- Graphic Organizers
- Parent Teacher Communications
- More Templates
Better letters: lesson plans for teaching letter writing.
Is letter writing a lost art? This week Education World provides five new lessons to revive student interest in writing friendly letters. These letter-writing lessons are sure to get your stamp of approval! Included: Links to letter-writing resources, rubrics, and more than ten additional lesson plans!
Has e-mail killed the art of letter writing -- or is the skill still flourishing via phone lines and cable? Whatever your opinion about those questions may be, there's no doubt that letter writing is an essential skill that incorporates and builds upon many other language skills. With the right lessons -- lessons that engage students and emphasize the practical -- letter writing can be a source of learning and an opportunity for classroom fun!
FIVE LESSONS TEACH LETTER-WRITING SKILLS
This week, Education World presents five letter-writing lessons that are sure to get your stamp of approval! Click on each of the lesson headlines below for a complete teaching resource. (Appropriate grades for each lesson appear in parentheses.)
Story Characters Write to "Dear Abby Students play the roles of a book character and an advice columnist in this activity involving writing friendly letters and solving problems. (Grades 3-12)
The Mail Race Invite students to write friendly letters and mail them to schools near and far. Then wait to see who responds, in this lesson combining language arts and geography. (Grades K-8)
A Letter to Sarah, Plain and Tall Patricia MacLachlans novel Sarah, Plain and Tall inspires students as they write friendly letters to Sarah from the point of view of Anna or Caleb. (Grades 3-6)
The Lost Art of Letter Writing What do Harry Trumans letter reveal about the man and the times in which he lived? What do the letters students write today reveal about them? (Grades 6-12)
Anti-Smoking Letter Writing Campaign Students explore arguments against smoking and write letters encouraging friends not to smoke. (Grades 3-12)
ADDITIONAL LETTER-WRITING RESOURCES
Truckers, Kids Make Good Buddies Buddy International pairs truckers and students as e-pals.
Stationery for Friendly Letters
Childrens author Jan Brett offers printable friendly-letter stationery for kids.
MORE LETTER-WRITING LESSONS ON THE NET
As we searched the Net for great resources, we found more lesson plans that teach letter writing skills. Click here to view those lessons!
EW Lesson Plans
EW Professional Development
Sign up for our free weekly newsletter and receive
top education news, lesson ideas, teaching tips and more!
No thanks, I don't need to stay current on what works in education!
COPYRIGHT 1996-2016 BY EDUCATION WORLD, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
- The Educator's Network
- Research, Guides and Resources
- Our PBS Shows
An Introduction to Letter Writing
Letter writing can be fun, help children learn to compose written text, and provide handwriting practice — and letters are valuable keepsakes. This article contains activities to help children ages 5–9 put pen to paper and make someone's day with a handwritten letter.
Letter writing is an essential skill. Despite the prevalence of emails and text messages, everyone has to write letters at some point. Letters of complaint, job applications, thank you letters, letters requesting changes or making suggestions — the list goes on and on. Encouraging children to write letters from an early age will improve their communication, social and handwriting skills, and teach them what they need to know about writing and structuring letters.
Letter writing can be included in a school's curriculum. Visits to museums or farms prompt thank you letters, for example contacting schools in other countries and exchanging letters links into geography. Writing imaginary letters to historical people can encourage understanding of a historical period or topic. Writing letters encourages good social skills, learning to say thank you and asking for information politely.
Letter writing has many purposes, including the following:
- It encourages good manners, especially writing 'thank you' letters
- Children can write invitations
- Children can write letters to friends and relatives
- Pen pals are always popular, giving insights into other children's lives, especially overseas
In this article:
- What's so special about receiving a handwritten letter?
- Warming up to letter writing
- Introducing letter writing
- Formal letters
- Informal letters
- Letter of enquiry and letters providing information
- Thank you letters
- Letters of invitation
- Letters of complaint
- Letters to Santa
- Letters to newspapers and magazines
What’s so special about receiving a handwritten letter?
Quite apart from curriculum requirements, being asked to write letters is a task that will appeal to children. The sheer fun of sending and receiving letters appeals to every child. There is something special about putting letters into the post box and then having letters delivered by the postman… the brightly colored stamps, seeing your name on the envelope and knowing that inside is a long awaited letter from a friend or member of the family. It shows someone cares and has taken the time to sit down and think about you.
Handwritten letters have a charm of their own. You can take time to think about what you want to say. You can keep letters to read again and again. You can admire the handwriting; share dreams and thoughts. Responding by letter is very different to the immediacy of a text message or an email.
Back to Top
Activity 1: Warming up to letter writting
Use the above themes to encourage the children to discuss letter-writing. Ask the children to put their hands up if they have ever received a personal letter. Ask for one or more volunteers to talk about how they felt to receive the letter. Here are some initial questions that may help:
- What was in your mind as you read the letter?
- Did you keep the letter to read again?
- Did you share your letter with anyone?
- Did you write back?
And some questions for whole class or group discussions:
- Can the class describe any differences between the handwritten letter and an email?
- Do the children think there is ever a time when only a handwritten letter will do?
Ask the class to interview each other to find out each individual's experiences of writing and sending letters. This can be recorded in a chart.
Activity 2: Introducing letter writing
Collect a supply of different types of letters — both formal and informal. Ask the children to sort them out into two groups. Which were written to friends? Which are formal letters from businesses? Which features or characteristics distinguish formal from informal?
Having done that ask the children to look for differences between the two groups. This allows a discussion to take place about the different types of letter. Draw up a chart for each group covering:
- Address — business or private?
- Greeting — formal or informal?
- Style of letter — friendly or business?
- What is the message?
- How does the letter end?
This will allow the children to find out for themselves the differences between formal and informal letters.
This could be followed by a discussion of the type of letters the children or their families write. How many occasions can they think of which would deserve a letter to be written? For example:
- Letters of congratulation
- Exchanging news
- Writing to friends
- Letters saying sorry for doing something wrong
- Making appointments
- Asking for information
- Dealing with banks or stores
- Letters to family members who live some way away
- Letters to Santa Claus
- Letters showing how much you appreciate someone
- Letters responding to someone who has had bad news — showing how much you care by trying to share their sadness
In each case the children should decide what type of letter would be most appropriate in each case — formal or informal? Draw up a chart for each group.
Activity 3: Formal letters
These are sometimes known as business letters. They are written in a strictly formal style. Such letters are always written on an A4 (8" x 11") sheet of paper. They can be folded three times so that the address to which the letter is being sent can appear in the window of a business envelope. The layout is always the same.
- The senders address is put at the top right hand side
- Include telephone number and email if available
- The address of the person receiving the letter goes on the left hand side below the sender's address
- Greeting — Dear Sir or Madam, or To Whom It May Concern. You can use the titles Miss, Mrs. or Mr. if you know the name of the person to whom you are writing
- The message
- Complimentary close — Yours faithfully (when you don't know the person's name), or Yours sincerely (when you know the person's name to whom you're writing)
- Write name in block letters (this is to ensure that the person receiving the letter knows exactly who has sent it. Signatures may not be very clear)
Typical layout of a formal letter
Activity 4: Informal letters
These are letters to friends and relations, or people you know well. Structure:
- The sender's address should always appear on the top right hand corner of the page.
- Greeting — There are several variations that can be used depending on how well you know the person: Dear Mary, Hi Mary, Greetings
- Complimentary close — short comment, for example Love, Lots of love, With thanks, See you soon
Typical layout of an informal letter
Tips for writing good letters
- Make sure that they are well written. It can be very annoying for someone to have to struggle to read handwriting. Always use your best and clearest handwriting.
- Make sure all your contact details are clearly written down at the top of the letter. If they are not, then you might not get a reply. The correct address is essential.
- Think about what you want to say. If necessary make some notes on a separate sheet of paper first. This will ensure that you do not forget anything.
- Think about to whom you are writing the letter. Use the right style of writing and language — formal or informal, business like or friendly.
- Lay out your letter using paragraphs. This makes it easier for the reader.
Activity 5: Letter of inquiry and letters providing information
Suitable for school, children ages 7-9
These are formal letters and messages need to be precise and detailed, covering all the required information. Two types of letters can be undertaken — a letter requesting information; and a reply providing it.
Out in the Milky Way, there is an alien curious about Earth. He writes a letter asking for information about liquids and gases. These do not exist on his planet and he finds it hard to understand what they are.
Write a letter explaining what liquids and gases are. How do they work? What examples could be included? What would be confusing about them? This could link to your science curriculum and could act as a revision exercise giving an opportunity for a discussion about gases and liquids.
The following day, give the children a thank you letter from the alien!
You could link up with another class in the school. One class could write letters of inquiry. These would be delivered to the second class for answering.
Activity 6: Thank you letters
Suitable for school, children ages 5-7 and 7-9
Thank you letters are very important and can be used in lots of ways: thanking organisations for helping, thanking people for helping you, thanking someone for a lovely time. They make a good follow up exercise after receiving presents or going on a visit.
Your class has just been out on a school visit to a farm. Write a thank you letter to the farmer. You will need to say thank you and how much you enjoyed the visit. Give some examples of what you enjoyed best about the day? Was it feeding the lambs? Pond dipping? Seeing the young animals?
Activity 7: Letters of invitation
Everyone likes receiving invitations. Receiving a hand written letter asking you to a party or a special event makes you feel very special.
Discuss what type of event might create a need to write letters of invitation. There are plenty of examples — birthday parties, Christmas parties, a visit to a beach with friends; going out to a farm or to the cinema, a wedding or when a new baby is christened; or simply inviting a friend to stay overnight at your house.
Choose a special event and write a letter inviting a friend. What do you need to include in the letter so that they have all the necessary information? You need to be clear on the date and the time, as well as the location. Your friend would be very upset if he or she went to the wrong place. Does he or she need to bring anything with them? Does he or she need to be collected at a set time? Will outdoor clothing be needed if the weather is bad? How will your friend reach the location of the event? Should a parent bring them or will you provide transport?
Remember to ask them to reply saying yes or no. Give a date by which you must have their reply. This is important if food and drink are being provided, or if you need to know exactly how many people are coming.
Activity 8: Letters of complaint
Suitable for school or home, children ages 5-7 and 7-9
When might a letter of complaint be sent? It might be when someone has done something wrong. Sometimes people write letters to organisations or the newspapers to complain about litter or poor service.
Just imagine what Mr. Bear must have been thinking at the end of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. A naughty girl had broken into his home, eaten his porridge; broken a chair and then gone to sleep on his child's bed. Then she had run away without even saying sorry when the bears came back.
Write a letter of complaint from Mr. Bear to the parents of Goldilocks. What would he say? He would need to get his complaint across very strongly. There would be a list of Goldilocks' misdeeds. He would ask for an apology. Would he ask for payment for the broken chair? Would he ask for action to be taken against Goldilocks? Discuss the various possibilities with the children. What might he ask? Would it be a formal or informal letter?
Activity 9: Letters to Santa
Every year children write letters to Santa Claus, asking for special toys at Christmas time. But how many children think about Santa Claus himself? What is his life like? What are the problems of living amid all that snow and ice?
This is an exercise that could involve two classes within a school. Both classes should prepare for the task by listening to some unusual letters. J R Tolkein wrote a lovely book entitled Letters from Father Christmas. Every December a letter would appear telling wonderful tales of life at the North Pole — how the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place; how the accident-prone Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Santa Claus's house.
Children in the younger class should write letters to Santa. They should ask about life at the North Pole. What do they think it is like? What sort of characters live there? How does Santa Claus occupy his time for the rest of the year? Consider how they would feel living in a land of snow and ice all year round? Would they want a holiday somewhere warmer?
Once the letters are written, gather them up and take them to an older group of children. Give each child a letter and ask them to write a reply. This would give them the opportunity to use their imagination and create imaginative responses, possibly little stories about life at the North Pole. They could also add in their own ideas. But care should be taken to make sure that all the questions in the original letters are answered.
Finally, take the answers back to the original class for reading and discussing.
Activity 10: Letters to newspapers and magazines
These are letters that aim to pass on an opinion or a message. Examples can be easily obtained from local newspapers or from children's magazines such as DK Find Out or Aquila. They are written slightly differently to normal letters and are always addressed Dear Sir, or Dear — (name of magazine).
These are letters that are directed at a wide audience — anyone who happens to read it. The sender never gets a direct letter back through the post. Sometimes people are so interested in a letter, which has appeared in a magazine that they want to express their opinions. So they then write a letter to the magazine giving their comments.
So what might go into a letter to a newspaper or magazine? It might be a request — could you provide more stories about skate boarding, or nature? It might be a way of thanking people for providing help. Sometimes letters to local newspapers are used to thank people who helped find a lost dog or help after an accident; but who did not leave their names. By writing to the paper, the sender hopes that the message will reach the people concerned. Sometimes such letters are used to express opinions such as on climate change, treatment of animals, poor services, not enough buses, and human rights.
Letters of this kind need to be very precise. Arguments should be clearly made. Requests for action should be clearly indicated. From reading the letter, everyone should know exactly what the sender is asking.
A major issue is recycling and energy conservation. Everyone is trying to reduce the amount of energy we use. Look at all the reasons why energy conservation is so important. Then, write a letter to a paper or magazine saying why you believe we should avoid wasting energy. Give examples of how energy can be saved? What measures should we take in our homes or schools? Could anything more be done?
My Child magazine. (2007). Letter Writing Resource Pack. London, U.K. Author. Retrieved February 26, 2008, from http://www.mychild.co.uk/docs/walw/Letter_writing_Resource_Pack.pdf.
This is quite helpful for students.
Teaching my third grade students tomorrow found it very helpful specialy the activities.Thanks.
this helped me understand an informational letter
Great basic format. It is a strong foundation to start. The layout gives a structure that students can use as a template.
Some useful ideas, but I'm concerned that the layout of the formal letter is incorrect - the date should be underneath the address on the top right of the page, and a letter beginning Dear Sir/Madam should end in Yours faithfully, not Yours sincerely! Sorry for pointing it out, but I hope it helps!
this is really helpful. thanks
It is very helpful for our students, but I think we need more examples and also how could these letters be evaluated in class.
really wonderful activities are suggested to improve letter writing.
I'm teaching my 7 year old daughter the art of personal letter writing. I found this information very useful! Thank You!!
You can give more topics for kids to write at home
I don't think you should write your name in the top right hand corner of the letter regardless of whether it is formal or informal. You should only write your address and the date there but not your name. Am I wrong?
Yes. You're right.
very useful site
This is quite useful but needs more examples
Thank you this was very helpful! Teaching this to my third graders tomorrow!
A great read as I am looking for various language to use in writing thank-you notes to parents for Christmas gifts. Our whole sharing month in December revolved around distinguishing between a need and a want. The thank-you with a purpose will be awesome as an example of an informal thank-you letter. As a follow up, we will write a formal thank-you to our parent council for their efforts in generating funds for our school. (Christmas raffle baskets with a theme)
These came in handy as I prepare mu pupils to write letters. Thanks a million for this information.
I had my ELLs create an invitation using your lesson. After choosing the event, we brainstormed together, using a concept map, what would need to be included. Then I made like a story map for them to fill in with the required info. For my lower ELLs, I used frames: Please come to my ____ on ____ at ____. They referenced the vocabulary we brainstormed and that I had written on a chart. After drafting, we did peer edits, from a specific check list, and revised and edited for specific errors based on peer edit. It went really well and studets enjoyed decorating their invitations as well!
Two books for children i have found very useful are Dear Greenpeace ( Walker Books) and The Jolly Postman or other peoples letters ( Puffin Books) there amazing for this topic for ks1
this is quite helpful for students..
I LOVE the letters to santa lesson! I am student teaching and third grade right now and trying to figure out how to pull this off. For example, should they write the letters to Santa or should they answer the letters. I am pretty sure a lot of them believe in Santa still...Anyway, love this idea and will use it in the future if not this year!
i am looking for a decent and friendly handwriting scheme/style to use from Reception through to Year 6. Currently we have Berol and it doesn't seem to be favoured by many. desperate for some feedback and guidance
I'm a 3rd grade teacher and have done this activity for many years. Teaching in a K-5 school, I've teamed with a 5th grade teacher to answer the letters. I've done it 2 ways: 1) the students write to Santa asking for something, but they have to PERSUADE Santa that they deserve the present they are asking for (use evidence of what you did to earn the present. 2) My students are "buddies" to a class of Kinders. They ask their buddies what to name a present they would like. The 3rd grader asks the buddy about their behavior/good deeds, etc, then writes the letter on behalf of the buddy (and reads it aloud along with the response.) The 5th graders writing the responses are instructed to respond to the letters as one of Santa's elves. They make up a name (Snowflake, Jiggly, Dreamboat, etc, so 3rd grader doesn't know that a 5th grader is writing) and then commend the writer for their hard work/good deeds BUT they cannot guarantee a present. The 5th grade teacher encourages them to make up contingencies (that's a popular request, we're running low on stock, I'm not sure we have that yet, etc) so that the writers' evidence/behavior is acknowledged, but 3rd's aren't set up for disappointment. The letters are delivered by a mysterious knock, with a plain envelope laying in front of the door, but no delivery person in sight. Jewish students write letters to their parents requesting Hanukkah gifts, using the same evidence criteria. I've done this project 15+ years, and every year this project is a big hit, as students read and re-read their responses to their classmates. (Third graders also become proofreaders when they find writing mistakes by the elves. I respond that the elves need to have more writing lessons.)
Thank you for the awesome resource..
teaching this unit tomorrow, this was helpful
letters are important, a skill sadly lacking these days
What about 'grading' a thank you letter?
Its better to include more examples of types of letters.
I teach English Lnguage Learners and they will love this unit. A good (and funny) book to use with this unit is "I Wanna Iguana" by Karen Kaufman Orloff. Thanks!
More information about text formats
- No HTML tags allowed.
- Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
- Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
New and Popular
Our Literacy Blogs
Tips from experts on how to help your children with reading and writing at home.
Target the Problem
Pinpoint the problem a struggling reader is having and discover ways to help.
FAQs About Reading
Real questions from parents and educators, answered by experts.
Find the best apps for building literacy skills.
Create your own lists of fiction and nonfiction children’s books. We have more than 5,000 books in our library!
A well-written school application letter should be organized, coherent, interpretive, specific and personal. Applications typically offer a prompt or question, and students should attempt to respond to this as deliberately as possible.
Personal letters are usually given to family and friends to express thoughts of gratitude and love. They typically include the basic parts of a letter, which are the heading, date, greeting, content, closing, signature and post script.
The form and content of an open letter depends on its purpose. If the goal is to inform the public about something that happened, it should specify what took place. Some people write open letters to express opinions.
Next, students write two letters, choosing from a list of prompts that include letters for varying audiences and purposes.
In this very personal activity, students have the chance to write a letter to themselves to open either at the end of the school year or on next New Year's
Templates for writing letter drafts and making custom cards and envelopes. Activity sheets and graphic organizers that support at-home tasks—.
A perfect way for middle and high school students to reflect on their journey ... First Day of School Writing Activity - A LETTER TO ME.
Give your students practice with the fine art of letter writing using one or more of the following activities. You'll find formatting tips and strategies for
Friendly Letter Prompts · Write a letter to your favorite sport/literary/celebrity person. · Write a letter to a relative that doesn't live nearby or that you
15 Friendly Letter Writing Prompts For Kids · 1. Write a letter your past self. · 2. Write a letter to yourself in ten years. · 3. Write a letter
and creative way to boost your writing lessons with an old-school tradition.
I teach students during their first year of high school, so a favorite June activity is inviting students to write a letter to their future
to target learning acceleration strategies in secondary ELA and literacy.
Within schools. Letter writing can be included in a school's curriculum. Visits to museums or farms prompt thank you letters, for example contacting schools in