Make your own free website on


The Best Penned Letter

Enter subhead content here

Home | Greggs Coffee Advertisement | Structure of a Novel | Cultural Diversity Quotable Quotes | Wellington Ethnic Groups Table | Cultural Diversity Enquiry Plan | Wellington Council and Ethic Groups | Cultural Diversity Resources | Info Literature Exemplar | MSDN Essay Exemplar | exam news | Wellington City Council's Objectives | Te Papa Summary | Year 8 Speech Inquiry | Where in the world? | An A to Z of NZ Immigration | Couch Potato Activity | Name the visual | Cool Cat Stuff | Sophisticated Picture Books | Sophisticated Assessment | 5 Points of Advertising Awareness | Verbal Language of Advertising | What is Media Literacy? | Poster Design | Helpful Hints For Speech Making | Year 9 Speech 2005 | The Great Debate For Debaters | Debate Scoring Sheet | electorates | The Great Mammal Debate | Wellington City Council Strategic Plan | Election Postcard Activity | Year 9 Fair Trade Research Assignment | Report Writing Text Form | Excellent General Resource Links | Dahl Work Sheet | Lamb to the slaughter story | Lamb to the slaughter work sheet | Landlady Work Sheet | The Landlady Short Story | Dahl Extension Activity | Roald Dahl Sociology | Dahl comparision for extra reading | Dahl and his fairytales | Dahl - the dark side | The Kiwi | Cafeteloros Web Quest | Fair Trade - Help! | Fair Trade Resources | Ethiopia | Fair Trade Questions | Fair Trade Glossary | Cross Tides Written Assignments | Year 9 Reading Log 2005 | Yr 9 Websites for Cross Tides | New Zealand Narrative Writing | Radio Assessment Year 9 | New Zealand English Vocabulary | The New Zealand Accent | New Ziland Misteaks | A Very Quick Trip Through The Decades | Bibliography Version 2 | A Quick Journey Through NZ Literature | Year 9 Brief Maori History | A Not So Brief NZ History | Film Study | Whale Rider - Film Summary | Film Reviews | Radio | Writing Bibliographies | Year 9 Shakespeare Poster Assignment | Year 9 Elizabethan England Research Assignment | BACKGROUND SHAKESPEARE SITES | Midsummer Nights Dream Essay and Assement | Mapping in Elizabethan Times | The Dream Unfolds - MSND | MSND Themes,Motifs, Symbols | MSDN Tracking Themes | MSND Topic Tracking 2 | Language of Shakespeare | ROMEO AND JULIET DIARY ASSIGNMENT | Romeo and Juliet Summary | The Door to Happiness | 101 Things To Do With Literature | Yr 8 What A Disaster! | Speechmaking | Yr 8 Essay Exemplars | Rationing in WW2 - Yr 8 | Year 8 Migration Resource | Thorndon Web Sites Yr 8 | Newspaper Work Sheet | Newspaper Appendix | Yr 8 Antartica Study | Antarctic facts | Antartic Resource Sites | Antarctica Statistics Work Sheet | Antarctica Tourism Background Information | Toursim in Antarctica | Antarctic Treaty | Weather Weather, quite contrary | Large Animal Science Badge | text forms | Proceedural Text for Science Fair | simple machines | Report Writing | The Best Penned Letter | Reading Log Year 8 | Internet Filter | search engines

seeking information
party invitations
thank you letters
friendship letters
business letters
applying for job

Lesson plans to promote the writing of better letters.

Conducting a Survey
Ask the class how their mail arrives at home, eg

- does it get delivered to their home letterbox?
- does it get delivered to a Post Office box?
- does it come by rural delivery?

Have groups brainstorm and report back on they different types of mail that their families could receive in the mail, eg

  1. letters
  2. parcels
  3. magazines
  4. flyers
  5. bills
  6. donation requests
  7. postcards

Have students speculate on which type of mail on their list they are most likely to receive during the week. Note down for later.

Have each student conduct a family mail survey during the period of a week. Discuss and list the possible categories that they can include in their survey, eg

  1. how many of each item (specific type) is received?
  2. which member of the family receives the most mail during the week? Can they offer any explanation for this?
  3. which type of mail is opened first?
  4. which mail is read carefully and which is not?
  5. which mail gives the greatest pleasure? Why is this?

Discuss the best ways of recording the results of survey, eg

  1. as a table
  2. as a pictogram
  3. as a graph
  4. as a ratio

Thinking About Communication?

Introduce the idea that there are many different forms of communication, eg email, phone, face to face meetings, audio and video conferences, letters …

Have students construct a table to show the most appropriate use of each form of communication. (Example below)

  1. Phone communicating simple immediate messages or just a chat
  2. Email short and brief messages seeking an instant answer
  3. Video/audio conference allowing people in different parts of the country and the world
  4. to meet and discuss ideas without travelling
  5. Fax immediate way of sending a copy of a written document

Students list …

- when did they last write a letter and to whom?
- when did they last receive a letter and from whom?
- how did they feel when they last received a letter? Why?

Introduce the more complex idea of the purposes of letters (include postcards as a type of letter), eg

- why do people write letters?
- to whom do they write?
- what advantages would a letter have over different forms of communication?

Can the students list specific times (instances) when a letter is the best or most appropriate form of communication? Can they say why?, eg a letter of invitation to a birthday party not only is a pleasure to receive but also serves as a reminder.

Challenge them to list all the times when they would choose to write a letter, eg

- send a letter or postcard to a friend when on holiday
- to apply for an after-school job
- to ask for information for a school project

Have students ask older family members when they always use a letter as a form of communication. Why did they choose the letter and what advantages does it have? Report back and share results.

Formal and Informal Letters

Focus on comparing two distinct types of ‘real’ letters that students can write …

  1. a formal letter requesting information for a school project or arranging for a class visit.

  2. a letter to a friend or family member

The Formal Letter

Have students examine a selection of business and school letterhead paper. Why do they think a letterhead is commonly used?

When would they use letterhead paper? eg when making a request for information for a school project.

Introduce the idea that there can be various styles for setting out a formal letter. Does your school have a particular style that is used? Invite a member of the office staff to talk to the class.

Thinking about style and format

Tell students that most formal letters are now typed on a word processor.

Tell them that although there are many type (font) styles to choose from it is important that they stick to one that is easy to read, eg helvetica, times or arial.

Before writing begins, discuss the other important factors that are necessary for a formal letter, eg

the letter must have a date

your correct postal address must be on the letter or letterhead so the recipient will know exactly where to send a reply

if requesting material, enclosing a stamped addressed envelope is only polite and will almost ensure that you get a satisfactory reply.


29 May 2000

Ms Glenda Marks
General Manager
Johnsonville House of Travel
235 Glenview Road

Dear Ms Marks

We would be very grateful if you would be able to send us a selection of travel brochures about Queensland Australia.

Our class is researching the tourist attractions of Queensland as a social studies project. We know that these brochures would be very useful as part of our presentation to parents and other classes at the school.

Thank you for considering our request. We are happy to pay for any postage and have enclosed a stamped addressed envelope.

Yours faithfully,

Emma Gosling SIGNATURE

Emma Gosling (Room Five)

Sample Formal Letter to Discuss with Students

  1. Start with an opening and brief paragraph that tells exactly why you are writing.

  2. The second paragraph would tell why you want these brochures and makes the letter more interesting for the reader.

  3. The final paragraph would thank the person for considering the request.

  4. The letter must then be signed personally (in ink) at the bottom and the usual way is to use Yours faithfully.

  5. Tell students that it is considered very important that there are no spelling mistakes. This shows the person receiving the letter that some real care and thought has been put into the writing of the letter.

Writing an Informal Letter

Before having students write a letter of friendship, thanks or an invitation to a family member or friend, discuss and identify differences between this type of letter and a formal letter, eg

  1. it could be written in their own handwriting to make it more personal

  2. it could have less structure and be quite chatty

  3. if it is an invitation to a birthday party it must have the place, date and time. A stamped addressed envelope could also be included to‘make sure of a reply’

  4. remember that checking spelling is still important! It shows the letter recipient that you care about quality!

Enter supporting content here