Introduction to Business Letters

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This lesson is ideal for introducing 5th graders to the format of a business letter. The lesson can focus on the inside address, salutation and closing.

  • Read the Thea's Tree by Alison Jackson to the children
  • Pass out a handout to the students that has a copy of two of the different letters from the book, one on the front, one on the back.
  • Ask students what they notice about how the letters are formatted. Help them identify points that you feel are key for them (The address of the recipient is on top, the salutation ends with : , the closing is right centered.
  • Make a list of 2-4 key points on the board.
  • Tell students you are going to pretend you are Thea, and you are going to write them and ask them for their help. In a shared writing activity, have them help you through the process of writing the recipient's address, creating the salutation, drafting a letter (something short like: I planted a seed in my yard the other day. It is growing quite fast and an egg and a harp has fallen out of it. Do you know anything that might help me?) and writing the closing.
  • Then challenge students to write a letter back to Thea. They may want to tell her about a fairy tell they've heard that says there is a mean giant at the top of that beanstalk. Encourage students to focus on following the 2-4 main points listed on the board, focusing on the format, and not so much the content of the letter at this point.
  • Students will need to include Thea's address at the top of their letter. They can copy this address off of one of the photocopied letters. This will hopefully give them a chance to correctly practice all of the format and punctuation involved in an address.
  • When students are finished have them edit each others work, checking to be sure their partner has mastered the 2-4 points that are on the board.
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