How to Write Information Letters

Unlike business letters, which are written mostly to inform or persuade, personal letters are usually not a primary medium for dissemination of information. Although part of the content of any personal letter is often information (e.g., “Aunt Bess won first prize in the pie-baking contest at the county fair”).

Two exceptions are personal update letters and the long-copy annual holiday letters sent by many families as a tradition to their relatives and friends.

A formal information letter is a letter of a personal nature written to someone who is either a stranger or someone who you know, but not well.

Sample Letters

Sample Formal Information Letter

Dear Parent,

This year, as an enrichment opportunity through the SAGE program, Woodside School’s fourth and fifth graders will have the opportunity to participate in the National Geographic Bee, between November 23 and January 13. This is a nationwide contest for schools in the United States. There are three levels of competition: school, state, and national. The winning student at Woodside must take a written, multiple choice “Qualifying Test,” in order to compete for advancement to the state level. (The first place winner at the state level will proceed to the national level.) Questions will require knowledge of place names or of the location of cultural and physical features.

Students may be asked about cultural and physical regions or about physical phenomena, such as landforms, climate, bodies of water, soils, flora, and fauna. Tools geographers use, such as maps, instruments, graphs, and statistics, may be the subject of other questions.

Have fun!!!

• Omit needless detail. Tell the readers only what they need to know.

• Give just the important facts, not the whole background or history.

• Enclose or offer additional information for those readers who want detail, or refer them to a Web site where more information can be found.

• When a program, event, or other thing is new, say so.