Friendly Letter Mini-Lesson



       Day 1

  1. Reading/Writing Workshop: reading literary models of Friendly Letters and responding to questions (pairs)


Day 2

  1. Whole class gets back together; teacher begins discussion with the question, “What do you notice about the format of the letters?” Through this discussion, teacher begins direct instruction in teaching the parts of the friendly letter. (See Parts of the Friendly Letter Handout).
  2. Teacher provides examples of friendly letters from Dear Peter Rabbit by Alma Flor Ada. Teacher projects letter (Dear Peter) on overhead while students refer to their paper copies. Teacher leads students in a discussion as they identify the parts of the friendly letter on their paper copy of the letter (See student directions).
  3. Students then partner and complete activities for Dear Pig One… letter.


Day 3

  1. Teacher reads an episode from Frog and Toad Are Friends (Lobel, 1970) called The Letter. In this story, Frog is disappointed about never receiving mail. Another option is for the teacher to read Dear Annie (Casely, 1991) which conveys the joy a grandfather and granddaughter experience sending and receiving letters. The teacher and children then discuss their feelings about sending and receiving mail.
  2. Students then brainstorm all the kinds of friendly letters they might write along with the different purposes for writing letters:


  1. Students complete the Letter-Writing Guide (pre-writing activity). 


Day 4


  1. Teacher reviews Reading/Writing Workshop from Day 1 and specifically focuses students’ attention on the question which asked students to list some interesting details. The teacher then leads students in a discussion which explores sentence variety and word choice; focus on creating exciting and engaging letters appropriate for the intended audience. Teacher should reference literary models and write down any interesting words, phrases, or descriptive sentences chosen by the students.
  2. Teacher reviews tone of friendly letters: personal, conversational, and informal. List on chart ways to address various audiences in greetings and closings:







What’s happening




Your friend

Yours truly

Yours very truly


Very gratefully yours





  1.  Teacher asks students to review their Letter-Writing Guides. Students are encouraged to make any necessary changes.
  2. Students begin drafting their friendly letters.


Day 5


  1.  Students begin by going over their Friendly Letter Checklist (See handout).
  2.  Students make any necessary revisions.
  3.  Students find a partner who is ready to peer-revise (See Revising/Editing Friendly Letters) and they go to it!
  4.  Teacher then revises/edits student letters- focus on 6 + 1 Traits of writing: ideas, voice, and word choice (See 6 + 1 Traits handout).