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Lesson Plan

Dear Librarian: Writing a Persuasive Letter

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Dear Librarian: Writing a Persuasive Letter

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Lisa Storm Fink

Lisa Storm Fink

Urbana, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



In Emily's Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary, the character of Mama writes to the State Librarian, asking for help starting a library in their town. Inspired by the actions in Cleary's book, students write to their school librarian, requesting that a specific text be added to the school library collection. Students use persuasive writing skills as well as online tools to write letters stating their cases. Students then have an opportunity to share their letters with the librarian.

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  • Persuasion Map Printout: This printable sheet guides students in mapping out their thesis, main reasons, examples, and conclusion for a persuasive writing assignment.
  • Persuasion Rubric: Use this rubric to assess students' persuasive letters.
  • Letter Generator: This online tool allows students to read about the parts of a letter. They can then write and print their own friendly or business letter.

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In her book, Family Message Journals: Teaching Writing through Family Involvement, Julie Wollman-Bonilla states the importance of students becoming comfortable as readers and writers. Wollman-Bonilla outlines the effect that reading and writing, including persuasive writing, have on students. She says, "Writing is a powerful tool for influencing others, getting what you want, and problem-solving. In order to write in ways that meet their needs, children must think about how to get their readers' attention and be persuasive and clear. Learning to write persuasively is a valuable, life-long skill. In addition, children need to write for real purposes and audiences if they are to learn that writing is personally meaningful and a powerful communication tool." Here, students are writing to a real audience (the librarian) and for a real purpose (to convince the librarian to add their selected book to the library collection).

Further Reading

Wollman-Bonilla, Julie. 2000. Family Message Journals: Teaching Writing through Family Involvement. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

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