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Writer's Workshop: Write Letters to an Author - Grade 3

Lesson Objective: To clearly communicate and express opinions while following a set structure of writing. 

Common Core Standard: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.1.A - Introduce the topic or text they are writing about, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure that lists reasons.


  • Pencils
  • Lined Paper
  • 3 Grade Level books you've read together in class (this example will use "Charlotte's Web" by E. B. White as a grade-level book for the teacher's example. You may substitute any grade level book you see fit for your classroom.)



  • Have you ever read a book and loved it so much that you wished you could talk to the author? How about a time that you had questions about the characters or what happened to them after the story finished? Or maybe you thought the story could have gone differently, and you want to know why it didn't.
  • We are going to talk about stories, our opinions, and questions you have today. 



  • The book I chose is "Charlotte's Web" by E. B. White. This book is one of my favorites, and I wanted to share my thoughts and questions with the author. 
  • To start a letter, there must be a person you're writing to. And just as we introduce ourselves when we meet someone in person, there's a way to introduce ourselves in a letter.
  • To begin a letter, always address it to the person you're speaking to. There are a few ways we can do this. At the top left corner of letters, you can write greetings like "Dear Miss X" or "To Mr. Y."
  • How you address your letter lets the reader know what the tone of the letter will be. Today, we want our letters to be friendly and kind, so I will be addressing my letter " Dear E. B. White."

Do: Write this on the whiteboard so all students can see, keeping to the format of the greeting on the top left side of your board space.


  • After we write our greeting, we need to let the reader know who we are. So we'll introduce ourselves. Our letters today are written to authors, and this means we don't know them personally. So not only do we need to share our names, but we should share something about ourselves too. 

Do: Write the introduction to your letter on the board. It should follow this format. 

"Dear E.B. White,

My name is Jane Doe, and I am a third-grade teacher in x state. I wanted to write to you today because I read your book "Charlotte's Web" to my class."


  • After we introduce ourselves, we need to let the reader know why we are writing to them. Today I am writing the author to let them know how I feel about reading their book.
  • I really liked the story of Charlotte, Wilbur, and all their adventures on the farm. So we should begin by letting our author know that we appreciated their work.


  • Open discussion for some suggestions on how to begin your letter.
  • Below your greeting, write the introduction to your letter. It should express why you are writing to the author clearly and kindly.


  • Once the reader knows who we are and why we are writing, we may ask questions. This is also the place where we can share our opinions. We'll call this the "Body" of our letter.
  • Our body should be about three paragraphs long, and each paragraph should have between three and five sentences each. 


  • Open the floor for discussion about what your letter should say. How the class felt about the story, and why they would want to tell the author the things they do. Questions can include but are not limited to:
    • "How did you get the idea for 'Charlotte's Web'?"
    • "Why did Charlotte try to help Wilbur throughout the story?"
    • "How did Charlotte learn to spin words into her web?"
  • They may also share opinions about the story, both things they enjoyed and things they believed should have been different. 
  • As the discussion is flowing, write student suggestions into your example letter. When you have the recommended length on the board, transition into closing a letter.


  • Now that we have written the body of our letter, we need to close it. Think of closing a letter the way you would end a conversation or say goodbye to a friend.
  • In a letter, when you say goodbye, you try to make it short and directed to the person you are writing to.
  • Saying thank you for the book we read is also something we can do here. In my letter i am going to close with this:

"Thank you for writing "Charlotte's Web." It was so fun to read to my class!

All the best!

Jane Doe

Sample Letter:

Dear E.B. White,


My Name is Jane Doe, and I am a teacher in X State. I am writing to you today because I finished your book "Charlotte's Web" with my third-grade class. We had so much fun reading it together!


I really enjoyed how Charlotte was a friend to Wilbur, even when things became hard for them. I think that the story had a lot of good friends in it. Fern saved Wilbur, but then she left him alone at the fair. Do you know why she did that? That didn't seem like a good friend to me. 


Templeton also seemed like a troublemaker. He did help Wilbur in the end, but he didn't want to. I think the story would have been better if everyone was as good a friend to Wilbur as Charlotte was, but it's okay because I liked how you ended it!


Thank you for writing this story. My class enjoyed reading it!


All the best,


Jane Doe




  • Now that we've written a letter together, I want you to write a letter.
  • Here are three books we've read together in class. You may choose your favorite and write to the author of that book. Your letters should follow the same style as ours does, but you can say whatever you'd like to your author. 


  • Hand out paper and pencils, and have all three books on display for students to reference. Allow time for them to write their letters. Walk among the students offering help or guidance where needed.


Written by Amber White

Education World Contributor

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