When you think about your community, your country and the world, what is important to you? Would you like to encourage people in your neighborhood to clean up a local park? Could you inspire others to start recycling more? Maybe you just want to inspire a change in your school lunchroom menu.

Whatever your passion, your ideas to make the world a better place are called “causes,” and this wonder will teach you how to use the power of writing to advance your cause.

One way letter writing can help your cause is to provide publicity. If you write a letter and a newspaper prints it, this helps people who may not know about your cause learn more about it. If your letter sparks a debate, this may inspire other people who support the cause to speak up, too!

Letter writing campaigns can help citizens reach out to elected officials, such as mayors, city councils, state representatives and even the president. Elected officials want to hear from their constituents.

By contacting your officials, you can tell them what is important to you. This information helps them as they make decisions that affect your community and the people who live there.

If you want to raise money for a particular cause, a letter writing campaign can be a great way to contact potential donors. Most people appreciate a personal, handwritten letter much more than an email message.

Even if you’re writing to someone as important as the president of the United States, a letter writing campaign doesn’t have to be difficult. An effective letter includes three simple things:

  • A description of the issue
  • An explanation of the problem
  • An explanation of what you would like the official to do about the problem

Here is an example:

Dear Mayor Opolis,

Here in Wonderopolis, I have noticed that some of my neighbors don’t recycle.

Each trash day, a lot of recyclable items are thrown away with the garbage and go to the Wonderopolis landfill. I talked to my neighbors, and they say they don’t like taking time to sort their recyclables into three separate bins — one for plastic, one for paper, one for glass. They say this takes too much time and effort, and it is easier to simply throw everything in one bin.

I would like to share some information with you about single-stream recycling. This type of recycling program allows residents to put all of their recyclables in the same container. The items are then sorted at the facility.

After doing some research, I have discovered that many other communities are using single-stream recycling and have found that resident recycling increases when there is no need to sort recyclables.

Please consider implementing a single-stream recycling program in Wonderopolis. This will help make the environment a little greener — and Wonderopolis even more wonderful!

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Concerned Citizen of Wonderopolis

P.S. I am also sending copies of this letter to the Wonderopolis City Council and Wonderopolis Director of Public Services.

 

44 Join the Discussion

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  1. Hi, this is James from Mrs. Caplin’s class. First off, I wanted to mention how cool it was when those little kids were trying to make a difference by writing to the senator. One time, when my whole grade went to a place called J.A. Biztown, we had to write a persuasive letter to fix something in the world. I also wrote about the starvation in Africa like the video did. My dad is always writing to congress men and women about other stuff within our community. I learned how to make a great persuasive letter with your three facts and will use them the next time we must write a persuasive letter in class. The last thing I was thinking about was where you found all of these facts and who thought of recycling to be a problem in your letter? Finally, thanks for the wonder.

    • WOW, James! You have a lot of personal connections to this Wonder of the Day®! Thank you very much for sharing them all! We’re glad you’re thinking of using the three items that make for a great persuasive letter…we’re super proud of you for that!

      We search many different places for all the information we include in each Wonder of the Day®. We look high and low for the best video, activities, links and Wonder Words, too! In this Wonder, we used an example of what a persuasive letter might look and sound like. We are on the ball with recycling in Wonderopolis! In fact, we’ve got a Wonder to prove it! Visit past Wonder #43 (Where Do Recycled Items Go?) to learn more about recycling! Here’s a link: http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/where-do-recycled-items-go/. :-)

  2. Dear Wonderopolis,
    I was intrigued by this wonder because I have something to connect to it. My friend, Bentley, once wrote to the mayor and got a reply. I understand why freedom of speech is important. Because of freedom of speech, we are able to do things such as writing letters to a officials in our community. When I read the title of this wonder I was also intrigued to read it because I honestly had no idea what a letter writing campaign was! I wonder what other problems have been written about in these campaigns besides recycling? What a wonderful wonder!
    Thanks,
    Sara

    • Hi, Sara! People write letter campaigns about many things. Business owners might start one to get potholes fixed in the street outside their shops, a group of people might want to start a community garden on a piece of land that is owned by their county, or maybe folks in an urban neighborhood might want to get support from their city government to paint an abandoned building with a beautiful mural. There are many reasons to participate in a letter writing campaign! :-)

  3. Hi, my name is Mukund from Mrs. Caplin’s class. I learned that a letter writing campaign is where you write to a mayor, the city council, or a state representative. I learned that you write about an issue or problem. You are trying to persuade or influence them to do whatever you want them to do. I really liked the example of a letter you put in this wonder. I also learned that an effective letter should include: A description of the issue, an explanation of the problem, and an explanation of what you would like the official to do about the problem. Has anyone wrote a letter to Wonderopolis? I learned that a letter could spark a debate. I really liked this wonder.

    • Hi, Mukund! Thanks so much for your comment! We get letters and emails (and awesome comments) from Wonder Friends all the time! No one has really had an “issue” that they wanted to address in Wonderopolis, though. We’re glad you learned about persuasive writing by exploring this Wonder! :-)

  4. Hi, this is Jack Triplett from Mrs.Caplin’s class. This wonder was very extraordinary. I never knew what a letter writing campaign was. I learned that it is to help citizens reach out to elected officials, such as mayors, city councils, state representatives and even the President. Keep up with the fantastic wonders.

    • We hope YOU keep up the fantastic comments like this one, Jack! Thank you so much for sharing all the awesome things you learned about letter writing campaigns! :-)

  5. This was a very informative wonder. I knew that there are parts to every letter, like a body and a closing, but I didn’t know that when you write a campaign, it has to include a description of the issue, an explanation of the problem, and an explanation of what you want the official to do. I had just a bit a background knowledge because in class today, we wrote a paragraph about whether school times should be extended or not, and we also had to write a paragraph about if we think that teachers should assign homework over the weekends or not. This was a fantastic wonder and I learned a lot from it.

    • Hello, Olivia! Thank you for letting us know about the persuasive writing you did in class today and also for sharing that you learned some new things about letter writing campaigns! We appreciate your comment very much. :-)

  6. Hi, this is Samia from Mrs. Caplin’s class. Tonight for homework, we had to comment on this wonder, and at the beginning, I had no idea what a letter writing campaign was. I learned letter writing campaigns can help citizens reach out to elected officials. I also learned that the 3 things to make a good letter writing campaign are… a description of the issue, an explanation of the problem, and an explanation of what you would like the official to do about the problem.
    That is really good to know if I ever have to write a letter writing campaign. I was wondering, what are some of the most common things that letter writing campaigns are written about?
    I really liked the video because a 7 year old was writing a letter writing campaign and trying to make a difference.
    Thanks for the really great wonder.

    • Hi, Samia! We’re not sure what the most common subjects of letter writing campaigns are, but that’s a REALLY great question! Thanks so much for leaving us this comment to let us know you visited this Wonder and that you learned so much and liked the video! :-)

  7. Hi, this is McKenna from Mrs. Caplin’s class. This wonder was very interesting and effective for when I want to write a persuasive letter. When my grade went to J.A. Biztown, we had to write a persuasive letter that could possibly be in the Biztown newspaper. I really wish that I would have known to describe the problem, explain the problem, and say your solution to that problem. These three key facts could have been very helpful. The next time I ever write a persuasive letter, I will make sure that I include these three useful ingredients. Also I learned some new and interesting facts. For example I learned that kids can actually write to people as important as the president, officials prefer letters and not emails, and lastly, that elected council members like to hear the voice of the people. Finally I have just a few questions. Did someone actually send in the example of a persuasive letter? How many letters are put in the newspaper every Sunday? Who reads the letters sent in to the newspaper? Well then, thanks for an exquisite wonder!

    • Hi, McKenna! We like how you called the three parts that help you write a good persuasive letter “ingredients!” We might start using that from now on! We used the letter as just an example, it’s not from a real Wonderopolis resident. It could be, though! We’re not sure how many letters are submitted to newspapers around the country and the world every day. We do know that LOTS of editors, publishers, and even every day citizens like us read them! :-)

  8. Dear Wonderopolis,
    I never knew that many more people like hand written letters than the emailed one. Plus, I didn’t know that when we start speaking up, others will too.
    Just like James said, we went to J.A. Biztown and we wrote letters to the editor before we went there. Today in class we did something with this wonder. This was a great wonder.

    • Thanks for leaving us this great comment, Sarah! We’re glad you learned some new facts about writing persuasive letters by exploring this Wonder with your “MC” classmates today! You are a WONDERful Wonder Friend! :-)

  9. This was a very interesting wonder. I liked the video a lot, because the little kids were really trying to make a difference by writing that letter. That is a very fantastic thing to try to do. I always like to read the Letters to the Editor section of the newspaper and find out all of the things that the people argue and talk about. I always like thinking if I would agree or disagree with them. I remember that last year, in Fourth grade, we wrote lots of letters to the editor and this wonder taught me more about them. Also, the sample letter that you had was very cool because that kid went to his neighbors and told them to recycle. He was really trying to make a difference. This was a great wonder to write because it could really inspire many people to try to make a difference by writing a letters. I never knew that campaigns were meant to try to persuade people! This is was a phenomenal wonder!!!!

    • What a WONDERous comment, Jack! We think we might try your “see if I agree or disagree with them” activity when we read the Letters to the Editor section in the newspaper this week! Thanks for letting us know you liked this Wonder…we appreciate hearing that! :-)

  10. Hi,this is Eric from Mrs. Caplin’s class. I learned that a persuasive letter doesn’t have to be difficult, it just has to include 3 simple things. It has to include a description of the issue, an explanation of the problem, and an explanation of what you would like the official to do about it. I wonder how many persuasive letters officials get each day? I also learned that letter writing can help your cause. The video was cool because two little kids were writing persuasive letters to the senators. Thanks for the wonder because I did learn a lot of information from this wonder.

    • Hi, Eric! We’re sure glad you learned a lot from exploring this Wonder of the Day®! We’re not sure how many persuasive letters officials get each day, but will all the people in the world, and all the different issues each of those individual people is passionate about, we can only guess that there are a LOT of letter writing campaigns going on! :-)

  11. Wow! This wonder taught me a ton of stuff I didn’t know! I had no idea what a letter writing campaign was! Maybe now I’ll start one. I also didn’t know about the word “constituent.” Thanks for expanding my vocabulary! The only background knowledge I had was how to write a letter! I WONDER how many letter writing campaigns there were in 2010? You rock, WONDERopolis! :)

    • Well, we think YOU ROCK, Ryan! Thanks for leaving us this awesome comment today to let us know you learned some new words and new facts about persuasive letter writing! :-)

  12. Hi, this is Alex from Mrs. Caplin’s class. I thought the video was awesome! Our class did something like this. We wrote letters to the editor and I wrote about the parks in my community and how there were too many. We also did an activity in school where we had to pick a subject and write a letter about an issue. This wonder was very interesting.

    • We’re super glad you thought this Wonder was interesting, Alex! Thanks for letting us know you thought the video was awesome, and also for sharing your experiences with writing persuasive letters, too! Have a WONDERful day! :-)

  13. Great Wonder! I really liked the video and was looking forward to the kid telling the dad what he wrote. I learned a lot about letter writing campaigns! I learned that they’re mostly about big issues that are going on in the community right now. I can connect to these because not very long ago, my whole class wrote something called a letter to the editor where we had to talk about a really big issue that’s been going on in the community for a while. I remember that mine was about the school changing its starting time from 9:00 to 9:30. I really liked the example, too, because people not recycling is a high issue that really needs to be stopped. Great wonder!

    • We have REALLY enjoyed reading the new batch of AWESOME comments from you and your “MC” classmates today, Colin! Thank you so much for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder, and for letting us know you liked the letter we used as an example! We hope you visit Wonderopolis again very soon! :-)

  14. Wow, I thought this wonder was very interesting. I thought it was cool how the little 7 year boy’s were writing to the state senator and it sounded like they were asking him questions. I also learned that writing a letter is more explanatory than writing an E-Mail. Also, you can write to people like The Mayor, The City Council, The State Representatives, and also even the President of the United States! Most of the time when people write to their elected officials, they are trying to express their opinion about something important to them. One example would be like a new school law like extending the school days in the state of Ohio. I know someday that I will feel strongly about something and then I will write a persuasive letter.

    • WOW, Matthew! You learned a LOT about letter writing campaigns by exploring this Wonder…way to go! We’re glad that you will know how to write a GREAT persuasive letter when the time comes! :-)

  15. This is Haley from Mrs. Caplin’s class! This wonder was phenomenal! I learned a lot of new facts about writing a persuasive letter, including a persuasive letter has to include a description of the issue, an explanation of the problem, and an explanation of what you want the official to do about the situation. Before I read this Wonder, I wrote a persuasive letter. The debate was, should kids have homework on the weekend, I wrote that there should be no homework on the weekend. I remember the whole fifth grade had to write a persuasive letter about what they would like to change about the world. I used context clues to figure out what the word constituent meant. I reread the sentence and now I know it means citizens. This was an extraordinary wonder! Thanks!!

    • We’re proud of you for using context clues to learn what “constituent” meant, Haley! Way to go! Thank you for leaving us a comment today to let us know all the cool things you learned from this Wonder about letter writing campaigns! :-)

  16. Woah- that’s so cool how those little kids were trying to make a difference and writing a letter to the senator! That’s pretty brave for a seven year old. I think it’s cool how the video shows that little and big people can make a difference. I never knew that writing a campaign letter was so simple, I mean you only have to have three things in it: the issue, explanation of the problem and what you want to do about it. I thought for sure you’d have to have more than that in the letter, especially if you’re writing to someone as important as the president. I wonder if the president would reply in his own handwriting if you wrote to him about a problem. That would be AWESOME!!! Just this year, the whole fifth grade went to J.A Biztown for a field trip, and we all got jobs just to show what the real world was like with taxes and jobs and checks, but before we went there, we wrote a persuasive letter about something bad in the world that we wanted to fix. So, when I was watching the video, I could remember when I was writing to someone about a problem. But I was just writing to my teacher (Mrs. Caplin) not the senator, so his letter might have been just a bit more important than mine. I was just wondering, where do you get all this info? I mean you must do a lot of research and wondering before you post a wonder. But anyway I learned a lot so thanks a lot!

    • Hi, Leah! Your comment was AWESOME! We think it’s great that you and your “MC” classmates have been practicing writing persuasive letters! We search many different places for all the cool facts that are found in each Wonder of the Day®! There are a lot of super people here in Wonderopolis who work really hard to make sure each Wonder is the absolute best it can be! :-)

  17. Hi, my name is Betty and I am from Mrs. Caplin’s class. When I was reading this INCREDIBLE WONDER, it reminded me of what we did in school because I forgot. In school, we are writing persuasive letters and we used the example in this Wonder. We also had to pick out five vocabulary words to put in our letter and I used issue, cause, inspire, debate and mayor. When I was searching through the vocabulary words, I found one that I never heard of. That’s when my friend said to me quietly that she never knew either, so we looked it up. Now I have some new words that I can put in my writing to expand my vocabulary. Thanks for this phenomenal WONDER of the day!

    • We liked the vocabulary words you chose to use in your persuasive letter, Betty! We’re also SUPER proud of you for expanding your vocabulary by looking up words you’re not sure about. That’s smart thinking! :-)

  18. Thank you for a great wonder. I learned a lot, including that using the three tips you gave can help you create a strong letter. I used context clues to figure out that constituents means. I remember going to a place, J.A. Biztown, and we had to write lots of advertisements to get students to come to our shop. Where do you get all your information about this wonder? Thanks again.

    • It makes us really happy to hear that you learned so much by exploring this Wonder of the Day®, Lynn! Many of your “MC” friends have mentioned J.A. Biztown in their comments, too! It sounds like a fun place to learn about things! We look in a lot of different places for all of the best information to put into each Wonder of the Day®! It takes a good bit of time, research and, of course, WONDER! Thank you so much for asking! :-)

  19. Hi, it’s Jillian from Mrs. Caplin’s class! I thought this wonder was absolutely marvelous. I learned that a good way to show your cause is to try and get it posted in the newspaper. That helps provide publicity, and tell about your perspective on that cause. When I told my mom about this wonder, it reminded me about a persuasive letter I had wrote in school once and that helped me understand the wonder much more. I also think that this is a great way to get your message out to people about something you believe can change. I think I may want to write one when I find a problem that could be resolved easily, but with some effort. Have you guys at wonderopolis ever written a campaign letter? Thanks again for the superb wonder! Keep on writing!

    • Hello, Jillian! We really liked the words you used to describe this Wonder! Marvelous! Superb! :-)

      We haven’t participated in a letter writing campaign, yet. But, we know of many Wonderopolis residents who have! Thank you for being a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

  20. Hi, I am Harshitha from Mrs.Caplin’s class.
    I saw many common problems faced by the society in India. The problems are environment pollution, drainage, water pollution, road damage, and air pollution. Diseases affected most of the people in their life (malaria), road damage which causes accidents, lungs diseases and some other problems affected the people. We and our neighbors gave a petition to the councilor of our community. The government of India were trying their best to vanish those disease and most diseases are vanished. The most common thing was, every individual needed to be aware not to pollute the environment in all ways. We should not disturb nature in its cycle. I also got an idea that I can write a letter to the Prime Minister when I go back to India. I learned more today and to use in my future. And also I learned many new facts and many new vocabulary words. Thanks for giving a chance to learn about the campaign.

    • Thanks for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder of the Day®, Harshitha! We think it is awesome that you and your neighbors tried to do something to make your community a better place. It was super interesting for us to learn more about your life back in India, so thank you for sharing that, too. You are a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

  21. Hi, this is Srikar from Mrs. Caplin’s class. It was really cool how the little kids are writing a letter to the senator. We once went to a place called J.A. Biztown, and we had to right a persuasive letter and I wrote about world hunger. I will keep in mind the 3 facts about making a good persuasive letter. About how many persuasive letters does the government receive each year? This was a really cool wonder.

    • Hi, Srikar! That’s a GREAT question about persuasive letters! We’re not sure how many letters the government receives each year. We bet it’s a LOT, though! From the smallest town councils around the country all the way to the President of the United States, just think of how many letters must have been written! :-)

  22. Hi, Wonderopolis. This is Wyatt from Mrs. Caplin’s class. I think it is great that any citizen of any age can write a letter campaign to try to change the world. If I were going to write a letter today, it would be to our school district to try to change the elementary school lunches. In my class we are writing persuasive letters about kids in Massachusetts that are going to school for longer hours. I feel that this is too long, especially for the little kids. This was a cool Wonder because it makes people feel like they can make a difference. I wonder who reads all of the letters that are sent to our president and our senators and how do they decide which letters should be seen by the president.

    • It is pretty amazing to think that one person can change the world, Wyatt! Thank you so much for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder. Let us know if you end up writing a letter to your school district about elementary school lunches! We’d like to hear your description of the issue, what you think the problem is, and how you would like the official to respond to the problem! :-)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What is a letter writing campaign?
  • How can you make your voice heard on issues important to you?
  • How do you write an effective persuasive letter?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

What are your children passionate about? Help them identify with a cause and write a letter to an elected official regarding their concerns.

First, help your children find a cause that is important to them. Whether it is animal rights, environmental issues, education or a plea for healthier food in the school cafeteria, what matters most is that your children find an issue they feel passionately about.

Once your children have selected their topic, let the writing begin! When they have finished their letter, help your children email it to [email protected] or send it to:

Wonderopolis HQ
325 West Main Street, Suite 300
Louisville, KY 40202-4237

We’d love to hear what they have to say!

 

Still Wondering

If your children really want to convince an official to take their point of view on an issue, have them visit ReadWriteThink.org’s Can You Convince Me? Developing Persuasive Writing activity!

 

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Wonder What’s Next?

Tomorrow, set aside your pen and paper, and return to Wonderopolis for a wonder that will have your head in the clouds!

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