Pen Pal Letters

Between Characters in Novels

Five teachers in different school districts in central Pennsylvania organized the experience of a novel in their classroom to provide students with the opportunity to write letters as a character in the novel to characters in the other four novels. In each classroom, small groups corresponded with one of the other novel characters. Some activities sought connections across the lives of all the characters based on what each small group had learned about the particular character with which they corresponded. The novels, characters, and teachers were:

 Novels Characters Teachers
Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry Cassie (period 1) (period 2) Mariann Myers-English 8
The Outsiders Ponyboy (period 1) (period 2) Patty Burlingame-Reading 7
Fallen Angels Ritchie Kim Clark-undergraduates
My Brother Sam is Dead Tim Amy Sten-English 7
"The Gold Cadilac Lois Janet Friel-Elementary Title I

Follow the links from the characters to read the conversations and examine what students learned about their novels as they co-authored letters in small groups, reread chapters to determine what to include in their letters, and considered how to take on the voice and world view of their character.