Writing for an Audience

Writing for a Specific Audience - Free Mini Lesson

Most students can grasp the concept of changing the way they write or speak depending on whom they are addressing in just a small mini-lesson. This post offers free materials to teach the lesson. Included is a PowerPoint, card activity, Boom Learning Deck. You will also find foldable organizer. In no time your students will be able to write and speak to a specific audience. This includes using both formal and informal speech.

Teaching this lesson is super important as it is addressed in a large number of Common Core State Standards.

Common Core

Teaching students to write for a specific audience is on the Common Core State Writing Standards beginning in third grade.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.10
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.4
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.10
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.4
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.10
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.4
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.10
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.4
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.5
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.10

In studying the standards, I have found that as students become older, writing to the audience shows up even more frequently in the standards as you can see from the list above. Understanding the audience is also important to the Speaking and Listening standards.


Students need to know when to speak formally and informally. This depends on the audience they are addressing. 

Students tend to catch on to this idea very quickly by just getting them to just take notice. Here are three activities I have used in the classroom to help students begin to think about writing for a specific group of people.

Activity 1 – Brainstorm

I like to begin a lesson on “Writing for an Audience” by asking students to brainstorm. I ask students to name people whom they could write. Students will surprise you with their answers. You will receive names of famous sports athletes, movie stars, and musicians. Naturally, the names of friends and family members are very popular. I write what they say in the brainstorming session on the board. Instead of naming each person individually, I change the answers to categories of people. This may include friends, adults, teachers, famous people, and so on.

After the names are listed, I simply ask a series of questions to get students to think. I want students to determine if a letter to this person should be formal or informal. Questions might include the following.

  • When writing a letter, which people would you begin with ‘Dear?’
  • Is it okay to say ‘What’s up?’ to all the people on this list?
  • Could you use acronyms like ‘lol’ for laugh out loud when writing this person?

Activity 2 – Name the Audience

Students name who the intended audience is for the snippet of text. This activity is available in three formats. Get all three here:

Get the free Boom Learning Deck.

Grab the free printable.

Download the free PowerPoint.

Have you never used Boom Learning? Watch this 30-second video to see it in action.

Click on the image below to get the version you wish. You can also collect all three.

Teach students how to write for different audiences with this free Boom Learning Deck.
Teach students how to write for different audiences with this editable PowerPoint Lesson.
Teach students how to write for different audiences with these printable flash cards.


Activity 3 – Foldable Staggered Flip Organizer

I love for my students to have reference materials to use as a guide in their interactive notebooks. This staggered flip graphic organizer is a free download. Just click on the image below.

Writing for an Audience Flip Organizer


You may also be interested in this Author’s Purpose Lesson.

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