Lesson plan

Drafting, Formatting, and Editing a Letter

Walk your young writers through the letter-writing process, including formatting, drafting, and editing. Use the checklist to ensure that all of the important parts of the letter are included and the details are polished.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
  • Students will be able to construct a letter with proper formatting and correct punctuation in the address, greeting, and closing.
(5 minutes)
  • Distribute the Punctuating Your Letter worksheet.
  • Ask student to read it and see if they can find and correct the punctuation errors listed.
(10 minutes)
  • Discuss the errors found in the letter.
  • Point out each correction. Emphasize that the comma in the greeting goes after the name. Many fifth graders place the comma after “Dear” at the beginning of a letter.
  • For each error, review the rules that apply, such as adding the comma after the city name in the address, as well as after the closing salutation.
(10 minutes)
  • If you don’t have a class letter-writing project for students to use as a topic, take a few minutes for students to generate the name of a letter recipient.
  • As a prewriting activity, have students brainstorm a list of topics they could discuss in a letter to this person.
  • Distribute the Letter Checklist and Letter Template.
  • Review the items on the checklist, pointing out each feature on the sample letter used in the lesson introduction.
(20 minutes)
  • Instruct students to draft a letter, using the sample letter as a model, and the checklist to ensure that their work is polished.


  • Instruct students to use the computer to draft their work. This will scaffold the editing process as it will automatically spellcheck and utilize margins.


  • Have students write a letter without the use of the template.
  • Assign students to write a business letter about an experience they recently had at a store or a restaurant and then send the letter.
(5 minutes)
  • Assess whether students correctly used the punctuation skills they have learned when writing their letters by checking for commas after the greeting, closure, and return address.
(5 minutes)
  • Discuss: What effect does it have on the reader if there are errors in a letter they are reading? What “job” does a comma do in a letter?

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