- Follow a personal letter format in order to write a letter to a hospitalized child.
- Develop narratives using effective technique, description, and sequence; organize and develop writing appropriate to purpose and audience.
- Demonstrate use and knowledge of capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.
- Get Started printable
- Show Someone You Care Poster printable
- Letter Template Sheet printable
- Chart paper or whiteboard
- Computer with Internet access
- Family Activity Sheet printable
Step 1. Ask students if they have received letters or cards in the mail. Brainstorm some of the similarities and differences between handwritten letters and digital messages. Guide students to understand how sending a handwritten letter can be more meaningful and personal than sending a digital message.
Step 2. Explain that there are many different reasons to write a letter. Discuss the reasons for writing a letter shown on the classroom poster.
Step 3. Tell students that the class will be writing letters of support and encouragement for children who are undergoing treatment in a children’s hospital.
Step 4. Explain that some hospitalized children have short-term illnesses and others have long-term illnesses. As students think about what they will say, they should avoid “get well soon” messages, so that even children with lifelong illnesses can enjoy their letters of encouragement. Refer to the Get Started printable and share one or two videos to show what life is like for hospitalized children.
Step 5. Show students the five parts of a personal letter using the illustration on the classroom poster. As a class, create a model letter on the board or chart paper, discussing what is important about each section:
- Greeting—What would be an appropriate greeting for our letters?
- Body—What would be a good message to share? (Tip: Make sure letters include encouragement and positivity and avoid “get well” statements)
- Closing—What are some appropriate closing phrases to use?
Step 6. Hand out the Letter Template Sheet and have students write their own letters to children who are patients at hospitals or treatment centers. Remind students to think of inspiring and motivating stories to share, as well as things that make them feel happy.
Step 7. Write the following address on the board and have students use the envelope on the Letter Template Sheet to practice properly addressing an envelope (including formatting, capitalization, and comma use) so that letters arrive at the right destination.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Attention: Vilma Carnahan
595 North Parkway
Memphis, TN 38105
Step 8. Remind students of the due date to bring in a stamp from home so that their letters can be mailed along with their classmates’ letters.
Step 9. Complete the Writing Letters To A Favorite Author lesson, then use the Teach Students How to Address and Mail Letters lesson plan to guide students to complete and mail their letters.
At home extension: Distribute the family activity sheet and have kids continue the letter writing fun at home!