Writing letters can be an effective way to communicate with your child’s school. You can use letters to communicate information, concerns, and ideas. Letters become a permanent record in your child’s file so it is important to be thoughtful about what you write. Do not write a letter with the intent to blame, judge, or offend the reader. Remember, this is a business letter.
Here are some tips to help you with the writing process:
- Brainstorm Why You Are Writing. The first step in the letter writing process is always to sit down and brainstorm your purpose. Make an outline of each issue, idea, or concern. Identify what laws or facts support your position. Finally, identify what action you would like the reader to take in response to your letter. Brainstorming will help you to clearly state the main purpose for your letter and provide succinct information to support your issue, idea, or concern.
- Introduce Yourself. Make sure your letter identifies your child and your relationship to the child. If this is your first communication with the reader give them a quick background of your situation. Don’t dilute the letter with unnecessary facts. Providing too much introductory information or history will detract from the main point of your letter.
- Capture the Reader’s Attention. Identify each idea, concern, or issue in a separate paragraph. Give a brief description of the supporting laws and facts from your brainstorming list. If you are requesting the reader take action, make sure you clearly state your request.
- Remove any Negative Emotional Language. Writing your letter in an angry, threatening, or demanding tone will not force the result you want. It will only create barriers to effective communication.
- Have a Third Party Read the Letter. Find someone who is not emotionally attached to the situation to read your letter and provide feedback. A third party can review your letter with fresh eyes. Ask the third party to identify the main point(s) of the letter and what resolution you are seeking. If the third party is unable to identify these items then the recipient may struggle understanding in the same way. Ask the third party whether there are any emotional statements that would potentially offend the reader.
- End Your Letter on a Positive Note. End your letter formally and with respect to the reader. You can summarize in one or two sentences the main point of your letter. Thank the reader for giving your letter consideration.
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