Letter Writing Tips and Ideas

Lots of teachers create letter writing assignments or implement pen pal programs. If you are required to write letters, but are struggling with it, read on to learn how to make writing letters fun.

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Most teachers expect letter writing to be a fun break from essays and other writing assignments. It's true that letter writing can be a fun and new experience, but if you do not know all the components of a letter or struggle to find subjects to write about, then it can be a difficult and boring task.


Many students think letters have to be formal. Depending upon the recipient, this is not necessarily true! A letter should sound like a conversation. This means that the language and topics you write about greatly depend on the purpose of the letter and whom it is written to.

If you're supposed to write to a pen pal, then you do not need to use formal language or talk about boring subjects! Some slang is probably okay to use but chances are you are expected to use correct grammar and English; this is so your pen pal can fully understand what you are writing, not because your teacher is trying to make you sound like a geek or prove how smart you are.

When writing to a teacher or other grown up you probably want to use proper English instead of slang; especially if the letter is a graded assignment or if you do not know the adult very well. This is so you make a good impression upon the adult. Additionally, if this is an English assignment, the sole purpose of the letter is to help improve your writing! You shouldn't worry too much about the assignment but remember to take it as serious as you would take any English essay or other homework your teacher assigns.


Do you have a tough time finding good topics to talk about in your letters? If the letter is a graded assignment, your teacher usually gives you a topic, but if they leave it open then you should write whatever you would discuss with a friend. The same is true with pen pals.

Talk about yourself, talk about your school. Talk about what you may have done in the last week or month, any movies you have seen, what type of music you like to listen to, what clubs you belong to, etc. If you're writing to a pen pal, your letters should be less awkward to write after the first few. This is because you will get to know who your pen pal is and what they like from their letters. Also, you and your pen pal will start a conversation through your letters, and topics will start to develop naturally.

If you find regular topics boring to talk about in your letters, then try posing a question to your pen pal. Discuss a topic you have been thinking about or learning about lately and at the end of the letter ask a question that relates to what you have been talking about. The best types of questions are ones that require more than 'yes' or 'no' answers. If you ask them what their opinion is on a subject then this will encourage them to frame their next letter around this topic.

It can be exciting to have a lengthy discussion about an issue through the mail. However, make sure not to pick a topic that will offend your pen pal. Sensitive topics include politics and religion. It is best to start a pen pal relationship with a couple of introductory letters before jumping into a discussion. This will help you determine which topics are okay to talk about and which topics your pen pal may find offensive.

Creativity Counts

There are also other ways to spice up your letters. You can be creative and write poetry or decorate the paper and envelope you are sending. This can teach your pen pal a lot about your personality and interests. Be sure not to get carried away and write all over the front of the envelope, as your letter might not be delivered if there's anything on the front other than the mailing and return addresses.

Hopefully this article gave you some ideas for your next letter. Keep pushing yourself to explore new topics to write about. If you are stuck on a letter writing assignment or activity, ask your teacher for some help.

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

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