Lesson plan

Reading Response Letters

How can you *see* what your students are thinking while they read? Try reading response letters in your class. Students will practise formatting letters and learn to discuss their thinking about literature in writing.
Need extra help for EL students? Try theMaking Text ConnectionsPre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
GradeSubjectView aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try theMaking Text ConnectionsPre-lesson.

Students will be able to correctly format and punctuate a letter to someone about a book they have read.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(10 minutes)
Reading Response Letter FormatPlanning Your Reading Response LetterReading Response Letter ChecklistReading Response Letter Interactive
  • Ask students: Think about the independent book you are reading right now. Raise your hand if you are reading a fantasy book. Historical fiction? Continue to list genres.
  • Tell students that you want to learn more about the books they are reading and how they are responding to those books.
  • Tell students that reader response letters are a way that teachers and students can communicate about the books they are reading. Tell them they are going to learn how to write this kind of a letter.
(15 minutes)
  • Distribute the worksheet Reading Response Letter Format.
  • Explain that reading response letters are very similar to friendly letters but they include specific content related to the book they are reading.
  • Go over the format as outlined on the sheet. After each section, generate some ideas for each list provided. This will serve as a resource when students write their letters.
(20 minutes)
  • Distribute the worksheet Reading Response Letter Interactive along with sets of markers.
  • Read the letter together.
  • Have students revisit the letter and complete the tasks listed, identifying the parts of the letter with markers as outlined on the sheet.
  • Review the answers.
(30 minutes)
  • Distribute the two worksheets Planning Your Reading Response Letter and Reading Response Letter Checklist.
  • Explain that students will now begin to plan and write their own letter. Go over the graphic organizer and checklist and demonstrate how to use them.
  • Instruct students to write their own reading response letter to you about the book they are reading.
  • Collect letters and respond to them with a short paragraph per student.


  • Identify the parts of the letter in the interactive activity together.
  • Demonstrate writing a reader response letter by doing a shared writing experience with the class, crafting it together using a book you have read aloud to the class as the text.


  • Have students include two thinking paragraphs in their letters.
(5 minutes)
  • Use the checklist to ensure that students have included all of the parts to their letter, including proper letter formatting and punctuation in the opening and closing. This assessment will mostly take place outside of the lesson.
(5 minutes)
  • Have a few students volunteer to share their letters with the class. Review the letters using the checklist. Focus mostly on the thinking paragraph.

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