"Writing letters? That is old fashioned!", is probably what some people think. That may be, and of course it is the case that in times of e-mail, SMS and messenger services letters do not play as big a role as they used to do.
And yet even nowadays you can’t always get around it, Letters to receive or write, Whether it is in the form of bills, notices or interaction with authorities. And by the way: Even if an invoice is sent electronically as a PDF (z.B. download), the structure of the page is nevertheless the same as for a classic letter!
But even personal letters should not be underestimated. Many people are still very happy to hear from a loved one take the time, sit down and writing a personal message by hand. Not to mention the feeling when a colorful envelope with a beautiful stamp flutters into the house.
For these reasons, German is taught as a subject in elementary school (and also in the 5th grade). class) not only how to write narratives using pictures or using stimulus words, but also, how to write a real letter.
In the following article, we will take a closer look at what types of letters there are and what you should keep in mind when writing letters.
What types of letters are there?
There are many different kinds of letters, and we have already mentioned some of them in the introduction.
In elementary school, mostly a personal letter written. This is usually addressed to friends or family members, and often contains a small narrative of something you have recently experienced. It can also be that you write a personal letter to ask for something (z.B. help with bicycle repair or if you can go on an excursion together).
A wedding invitation is also a personal letter. | Source: Unsplash
But even with invitations, congratulatory letters, condolence letters/mourning letters or love letters of course we are talking about personal letters. And there are many more examples (have a look on the internet, there are many PDF worksheets for download with example letters).
In addition, there are many other, mostly official letters, z.B.:
- Official letters
- Business letters
How is a letter structured and what do I have to pay attention to??
What goes on the envelope?
Apart from the letter itself, you also need to put the Prepare and label the envelope accordingly.
- Step 1: Put the finished letter (paper sheet) into the envelope.
- Step 2: On the front of the envelope, write the recipient’s name and address on the right-hand edge, roughly in the middle.
- Step 3: The sender, i.e. your name and address, is written either on the front in the top left corner or on the back in the top center margin.
- Step 4: Stick the appropriate stamp(s) on the front in the upper right corner.
- Step 5: Drop the letter in a mailbox or hand it in at the post office.
Layout of a letter
The letter itself (which you then send in paper form or as a PDF in an e-mail) is also created according to certain rules or. Conventions designed.
In the case of an official letter (e.g.B. business letter) it goes like this:
- Top right: Name and address of the sender
- Below that, flush left: Name and address of the recipient
- Below right: place and date
- Under it left-justified evtl. Subject (subject of the letter)
- Then follows the actual letter, the body of the text
- Some business letters also have a footer with information about the company
Letters have a classic structure. | Source: Unsplash
For the personal letter you have to write in elementary school, it is not quite so complicated. Here is usually enough place and date and then it goes on with the salutation, the body (the actual letter), the closing formula and your signature.
What you write there exactly, we look at in the next subchapter.
Not quite clear yet? Discover our online German tutoring here.
Writing a letter – tips on content
As mentioned before, when writing a personal letter, the first thing you do is write on the top right the place and date, so z.B. "Ulm, 31. October 2020".
Then follows the salutation. In a personal letter, you typically start with "Dear/Lieber. ". Because you usually know the person well, you use the first name and may continue to address the person in the rest of the letter duzen.
For more formal letters to respected people or people you don’t know privately (e.g.B. to a teacher, the principal or the mayor) one uses "Dear Mrs. X" or. "Dear Mr. Y", so the Last name, and in the letter itself the "you" form.
In order to make your letter more pleasant to read, you should divide them into several paragraphs. This you do best thematically. Whenever a new topic starts or the direction changes, you can start a new paragraph, i.e. leave one line blank and continue writing on the next but one line.
You will find an example in the next chapter.
After you have written what you wanted to say (use a good basic vocabulary), write a letter!), follows a closing formula. For formal letters, this is usually "Yours sincerely". But your personal letter can also start with "See you soon!", "All love", "Greetings" or many other expressions end.
The envelope must also be properly labeled. | Source: Unsplash
The best thing to do is to search online for a worksheet or look for several worksheets (PDF as download) and blog articles with different examples for a good letter closing formula.
At the end follows your signature, usually in the form "Yours XY".
And your personal letter is ready! Not so difficult, is it??
By the way: When writing an essay about writing a letter in German at school, it is often specified to whom the students should write a letter and what it should be about. Therefore, it is especially important to read the assignment very carefully and to pay attention to what is required! All letters can be important
Search important: A solid basic vocabulary!
Writing letters in elementary school – our tips for parents
Does your child (or. Your children) to school? Maybe in the 3. class or already 4. Class?
Then it will have to be able to write its own small texts more and more often to show that it has a certain basic vocabulary. This is quite normal, because even in the further school career students must be able to master a wide variety of essay types, z.B. the characterization (that’s why you practice in the 3. and 4. (for example, the description of a person in the first grade) or a detailed text summary (the predecessor of which is the retelling in elementary school).
But this article is of course about Letter writing at school!
Does your child or children currently still have problems with or questions about the essay letter in German? Then you can help them a little bit to learn this kind of essay.
Because don’t worry: all students can learn to write letters with a little help and practice! It is like so often in life: No master has fallen from the sky, and in the end it is usually: Practice, practice, practice!
And maybe it just needs a little help with basic vocabulary?
A good option is exactly what you are doing right now: Look around on the Internet! There you will find many different worksheets, articles, texts and information on the topic, and of course, tasks to practice on. This way you can answer your child’s questions competently.
Apart from the form, i.e. the layout of a letter (there is of course a worksheet or two on this topic), online you can also find information and exercises on basic vocabulary or templates for nice stationery, which may motivate the children additionally.
A great place to go for information and templates, if you search for "worksheet letter elementary school" you can find on the Deutsche Post website! Just click through and download your favorite worksheet right now for free.
Tip: If you have children who are particularly creative and like to design, you can provide them with additional incentives by special decorations for letters shows. With a letter it looks super, if the letters at the beginning of the text body are extra beautiful.
Also discover our review article on essay writing in elementary school!
You still need help? Discover here our tutoring German and numerous locations like z.B. German Tutoring Munich.
Writing a personal letter – example
A personal letter for the elementary school could look like this.
Ulm, the 31. October 2020
I was very happy about your last letter. I especially liked the photo of Struppi, he is just so cute! Can you please cuddle him very dear from me?
I’m really looking forward to the next time I come to you and grandpa and we can all play together in the garden. Maybe I’ll be allowed to hold Struppi’s leash for a short while when we go for a walk, just like last time? That would be very nice!
How are you doing? Is grandpa’s knee better again? I hope he is not in too much pain!
I send you both (and Struppi!) best regards and see you soon,