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Spark: Letters, Undelivered

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Letters, Undelivered

This activity prompts students to write words unspoken in letters that are undelivered.


Grades 6–12


Informational, Narrative, Social-Emotional Learning

What You Will Do

Let’s talk about the art of writing letters—it may not be as lost as it seems! Ask students to think about the last letter they wrote and delivered (and YES, we’re talking snail mail, not snaps). Who was it to? Why did they write it? Use these responses to help the class arrive at a collective understanding of the purpose of writing letters, as well as their effects.


Then, ask students: Why would anyone write a letter that they would never send? Explain to the group that today, they’ll be writing two letters that will never be sent:

  1. Think of someone who helped you grow or change in some way—it can be someone still in your life or someone you’ve parted ways: a family member, a friend, an ex, a neighbor, a classmate, whoever! Write a letter to them about the impact that they had on your life and what big changes came about as a result of their presence in your life. 
  2. Write a letter that you never intend to send to another person (or group of people) of your choice!


Assure students that they will not be sharing any part of these letters with you or the rest of the group—this is just between them and the page! Close the activity by asking students about the experience of writing something to someone that they know won’t be read. Did it feel cathartic? Pointless? Energizing? Why?

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