To Whom It May Concern: Considering Audience and Purpose in Writing

bySimon Edgett

For students in high school, one of the more difficult aspects of writing is consideration of audience and purpose. This is made especially difficult by the fact that students in high school are very often not asked to write for an audience beyond the teacher or a purpose beyond a grade. This unit aims to use mentor texts—professional essays on the topic of reading, writing, and/or language—to guide students through the process of responding to a specific real or imagined audience in their own writing. In this three-week unit, students begin by looking at the ideas of audience and purpose in their own usage, move to analyzing the way professional writers address audience and purpose in their writing, and finally attempt to incorporate what they have learned into their personal essays on the value of reading, writing, and/or language in their own lives. In developing this unit, I have paid special attention to how it will be taught in my tenth-grade classroom, but I intend to use it, in a modified form, in all of the grades I teach, tenth through twelfth.

(Developed for English, grades 10-12; recommended for English, grade 9)

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