Writing a Formal Letter


ELAR-Grade-8 Non-fiction Texts Writing a Formal Letter
Students brainstorm about letter writing. Then, they learn the difference between informal and formal (business) letters and study formal letter format. Next, they consider the purposes of the parts of a business letter, and they explain why business letter format is important. Finally, they write a letter of complaint and a letter responding to it.

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Here are the teacher pack items for Writing a Formal Letter:

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Overview

In this experience, students brainstorm about letter writing. Then, they learn the difference between informal and formal (business) letters and study formal letter format. Next, they consider the purposes of the parts of a business letter, and they explain why business letter format is important. Finally, they write a letter of complaint and a letter responding to it.

Students will collaborate in small groups for scene 4.

Objectives

  • Compose a formal letter registering a complaint.
  • Respond to a formal letter registering a complaint.

Duration

One class period.


Every day, the U.S. Postal Service delivers mail to every address in the United States. People used to get personal letters in the mail almost every day. Now, people usually send messages by email or text message. However, some kinds of letters are still sent on paper, by mail. Think about what types of mail people receive. In this experience, you will learn how to write and respond to formal letters.

Objectives

  • Compose a formal letter registering a complaint.
  • Respond to a formal letter registering a complaint.


four United States Postal Service mailboxes in a parking lot

It seems that almost everyone nowadays has something to complaint about. What are some of your complaints? Take a minute to indulge your desire to gripe.


Quickly brainstorm your complaints, without giving them too much thought.

Post your answer

Briefly discuss students’ responses. Ask students which of the complaints they think could be expressed in a letter to someone who could resolve them.


Some complaints can be expressed through letters. Not all of them can, of course. If it rains and you were hoping for sunshine, a complaint letter won’t help! But when people think that an official in a company or government office has treated them poorly, or something they paid for doesn’t work the way it should, writing a letter to a person of authority can be an effective way of solving the problem.


To lead in to the next scene, point out that many of the letters people send today are for official purposes rather than personal ones. When writing about a serious matter to a government agency, a company, or an institution such as a university or a museum, the sender frequently wants to keep a written record of what was said, when the letter was sent, and who signed the letter. This is known as leaving a paper trail. The average person may not do this often, but when he or she does, it is likely to be for an important purpose. 


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