Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us

 

 

Contribute to ReadWriteThink

ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, videos, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.

More

 

Professional Development

Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.

More

 

Did You Know?

Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

More more

Home Classroom Resources Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Exploring Literature through Letter-Writing Groups

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

 

Exploring Literature through Letter-Writing Groups

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Six 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

John Paul Walter

John Paul Walter

Washington, Washington DC

Publisher

National Council of Teachers of English

 

Overview

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

 

OVERVIEW

In this lesson, students discuss literature through a series of letter exchanges, in the form of handwritten letters, typed letters, electronic documents, e-mail, online discussion posts, and even Weblog posts. Students begin by exchanging letters that explore an issue or idea from a selected text. They discuss ways of writing open-ended letters that foster discussion, leaving room for responses to their letters, and keeping letters focused on a point. They then continue to exchange letters as they read the text, exchanging a minimum of three letters in a series. Letter series can be used in conjunction with any work of literature and any other assignment. Students can even be asked to carry on a year-long discussion in which they make connections among a number of literary works.

back to top

 

FEATURED RESOURCES

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.

back to top

 

FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE

Elaine Fredericksen writes that "...having students practice writing by requiring an exchange of correspondence either by e-mail or paper mail echoes a time-honored tradition of letter writing as a teaching tool. This tool has a wide range of applications in the writing classroom and reaches well beyond the simple transfer of e-mail messages." (278) Art Young argues that having students write letters to each other in order to explore literature is a collaborative learning activity that asks them to engage in higher-order critical thinking skills by generating the issues they will discuss and by responding to each other's ideas and questions. This lesson has students exchange a series of letters that allows them to explore a piece of literature they are reading, as well as make connections among several literary works they read during the year.

Further Reading

Young, Art. 1997. "Mentoring, Modeling, Monitoring, Motivating: Response to Student's Writing as Academic Conversation." Writing to Learn: Strategies for Assigning and Responding to Writing Across the Disciplines. Ed. Mary Dean Sorcinelli and Peter Elbow. Jossey-Bass Publishers. 27-39.

 

Fredericksen, Elaine. "Letter Writing in the College Classroom." Teaching English in the Two-Year College 27.3 (March 2000): 278-284.

back to top