Seasons of Service

Writing Campaign: Letters to Public Official &/or to the Editor

Objective: Students identify and analyze a specific community problem and communicate problem to the appropriate public official or to a newspaper.


  • Identify community problem.
  • Review business letters and envelope formats.
  • Discuss situations that call for public official's attention and/or publication in local papers.
  • Determine difference of the purpose in the letters to the editor and letters to officials.
  • Use correct formats for both letters.
  • State purpose of letters in opening paragraph.
  • Include all necessary information.
  • Revise letters focusing on clarity, word choice, and conciseness,
  • Edit letters correcting grammatical, mechanical and usage errors.


  • Discuss possible situations that call for public attention.
  • List student responses on board.
  • Have students bring in article or editorial from newspaper for next day's exercise
  • Ask students the following:
    • How can you bring this issue to the attention of the public and public officials?
    • What is the purpose of that greater attention?
    • What necessary information should the writer include?
  • Choose the appropriate recipients for public official letter or letter to the editor.
  • Choose the correct format and tone for letters.
  • Upon completion, exchange letters and proof read them using the Letter Check List.
  • Return letters to authors and discuss edits in small groups before revising and mailing.

Letter Check List

  • Is the heading correct?
  • Is the inside address correct?
  • Does the greeting address the individual properly? Is the punctuation correct?
  • Is the purpose of the letter stated in the opening paragraph?
  • Are the language and tone appropriate for the audience?
  • Are the evidence and reasoning sound and complete?
  • Is the vocabulary clear, concise, and accurate?
  • Have all grammatical, mechanical and usage errors been corrected?
  • Is the closing correct and punctuated correctly?
  • Is the spacing of the letter correct including margins?
  • Does the envelope follow the correct format?

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