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Introduction to Persuasive Letter Writing

by Lisa Tyrrell | 14 Jun 2018
Resource Description: This lesson plan should be used to introduce ELD 3 (English Language Development) students to writing persuasive letters.
Audience: Secondary
Audience Language Proficiency: Intermediate
Duration: 2-3 class periods
Language Skill: Writing
Content Area: English/Language Arts
Materials and Technology:

Chromebooks, organizers*, example of business letter, rubric, article: Should Public Schools Ban Cell Phones?


The students will be able to effectively craft persuasive letters.


Students will be able to craft a persuasive letter to the principal,

 persuading her to ban cell phones.


Students will be able to craft a persuasive letter to the principal, persuading her not to ban cell phones.


Procedures Days 1 and 2:

  • New Vocabulary:  Introduce the following: business letter format - heading, date, recipient address, salutation, body, complimentary close, signature

  • Anticipatory Set: Tell the students that you just heard the school was going to be banning cell phones starting next school year.  Briefly discuss:

           What can students do about their frustration with the new policy?

                                         (5-10 minutes)

  • Pre-Activity: Students work with shoulder partners to discuss possible reasons for/against a cell phone ban. Students will glance through the article underlining any words they are unfamiliar with, share out, and review together. Create class list. Have partners read the article and

          highlight any other evidence they see pro in green, and con in yellow.  

          Have partners share out and create a t-chart on the board. (20-30


  • Lesson:  

  1. Explain to students that they will be writing a letter to the principal about the new cell phone policy with their partners.

  2. Pass out a sample business letter to students and discuss the various vocabulary terms and where they are located in the letter, displaying with the overhead projector.  (Possible differentiation - put list of terms on board and have students determine where they are on the letter, correct as needed.)  Point out the body of the letter and have partners read with each other. (10-15 minutes)

  3. Pass out organizer and review together completing some parts whole group and others as partners.  Review different types of hooks discussed earlier in the year. Check-in with students once they have completed the organizer. (10-15 minutes)

  4. Display sentence stems and transition words for students to use as needed.*

  5. Students to draft their letters in Google Docs and submit for feedback.

  6. Students to revise accordingly.  Make sure students do not put there names on the letters as these letters are going to be used in an anonymous follow up activity.

          (1 class period)

Procedures Day 3:

  • Post Activity:  

  1. Students get together with prior days’ partners and review the activities of the last two days.

  2. Pass out copy of rubric and discuss. (5 minutes)

  3. Print off copy of student letters making sure there are no names.  Pass out a letter to each group, being careful not to give students their own letters.

  4. Have partners score each letter according to the criteria set forth in the rubric. (20-30  minutes)

  5. Partners come to overhead, display letter and explain their scoring (25 minutes)

  • Closing: Students to complete Exit Ticket in Schoology - Why is it important to learn how to communicate effectively in writing?  When might you be required to do so?

  • CITW (Classroom Instruction that Works) Strategies: Anticipation Guide, Shoulder Partners, T-Chart, Graphic Organizer, Modeling, Examples, Rubric, Peer Feedback, Exit Ticket.

Assessment: graphic organizer, letter written to the principal, observation

Differentiation: organizers, students who struggle with reading may use to simplify the text in the article, sentence stems


Extension:  Have students write a persuasive letter to the Board of Education asking them to revisit a policy that the students do not agree with.




Chen, G. (2018, April 30). Should Public Schools Ban Cell Phones? Retrieved May 18, 2018, from


Persuasive Essay Rubric. (n.d.). Retrieved April 1, 2018, from Rubric.pdf)

Persuasive Letter Graphic Organizer. (n.d.). Retrieved April 1, 2018, from
Uploaded Files:
TESOL Interest Section: Second Language Writing