Homepage > Staff Room > Using English in the Classroom > Penfriend Letters

Having a penfriend (sometimes known as keypal if computers are used) is an excellent way for students to practice their English. This can either be done the old fashioned way by sending the letter through the post office (now known as snail mail for its slow pace) or by e-mail using the internet. Penfriends are good as the students are communicating with people their own age in real situations. They feel good when they ask their penfriend a question and then a few days later receive a reply. It also bolsters their confidence when they see that their American or English penfriend has similar difficulty with spelling and grammar! This page gives ideas of what to write in the first few letters and you will also find links to read real letters from students around the world.

Links for example letters: First Letters | Second Letters | More Letters | Thai Student Letters

USEFUL WORDS:

If you already know your pen friend then start the letter with “Dear John”. If not, then start it with “Dear penfriend”.

Starting the first Letter
Hi! How are you? I’m fine.
I am happy to be your pen friend.
I will introduce myself to you.
I will tell you about my family.

Starting the second Letter
Hi! How are you? I’m fine.
I enjoyed reading your letter very much.
Thank you for your e-mail.
Thank you for your letter it was great.
Thank you for writing back.
Thanks a lot for writing back to me.
Thanks for the last letter
Hello! Thank you for your letter. It was great!

Starting the second letter with an apology
I am sorry I did not reply earlier.
I am sorry that it has been a long time since I last wrote.
I have been busy at school.
I had exams at school.
I have been ill.

Saying Goodbye
Bye for now and write back soon!
I hope to hear from you soon.
Write back soon!
I hope you will write soon.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Please don’t forget to answer my letter.
Well I’d better be going.

From your penpal
From your new friend
Yours sincerely
Your pen friend
From your Friend
Topics

Do not write everything in the first letter. The following are some ideas:

Introduce Yourself
Your age, weight and height
Date of birth, place of birth, nationality
What you look like
Your hobbies
Your favourite things (i.e. colour, food, sport)
What you like to do at the weekend.
What you want to be when you grow up.
Your religion

My name is Manit and I am 12 years old. I am Thai and I am a Buddhist. I am tall and thin. I have short, black hair and black eyes. My hobbies are collecting stamps and playing badminton. At the weekend I like chatting on the telephone with my friends and going to the shopping mall. Sometimes I watch a movie with my family. When I grow up I want to be a doctor.

My name is Su and I am 13 years old. I will be turning 14 next month. I am a girl and I was born in Samut Prakan. My friends say I am fat but I don’t think so. I have long black hair and dark brown eyes. I am talkative and my teacher often tells me to be quiet. I like to draw pictures in my free time. My favourite sport is swimming. At the weekend I often go shopping with my family.

Hello. My name is Natthapon and I am nearly 12 years old. I am short and plump. I have dark hair and dark eyes. My friends say I smile all the time. I think I am a polite boy and I like looking after my younger brothers. In my spare time, I like to play football with my friends or play video games. At the weekend I like to watch movies or go swimming. When I am older, I want to be a footballer.

Introduce your family
How many brothers and sisters you have
What schools they go to
Parents’ names and occupations
What they are like

There are five people in my family. My mother and father, two sisters and myself. One sister is older than me and one is younger. My older sister’s name is Wanida. She is 15 years old. She goes to Satree School. She is kind and helps me with my homework. My younger sister’s name is Nitima. She is eight years old and she goes to the same school as me. I like to tease her but I don’t think she likes it. My parents are both doctors in our local hospital. I am very proud of them because they help people get better.

There are four people in my family. My parents, my older brother and me. I don’t like being the youngest. My brother teases me often. His name is Teerachot. I am happy he doesn’t go to my school. He will be turning 15 soon. My mother’s name is Mana. She is a dressmaker in the market. She works very hard. My father’s name is Tanet. He is a fisherman. He works long hours and he is very tired when he comes home. My father scolds me if I am lazy.

I am an only child. I don’t have any brothers or sisters. Sometimes I wish I had an older brother who I could play football with. My father’s name is Kitti. He is an engineer. He doesn’t like playing football. My mother’s name is Sasilak. She is a factory worker. She is kind and has a good nature. At the weekend we usually go and visit my grandmother. Sometimes we go to the sea.

Write about your house.
size and type of house
location of house
number of people who live in house
how many floors
how many bedrooms
your bedroom

I live in a small house on Taiban Road. Our house is next to the bus station and above a flower shop. There are 2 floors in my house. I sleep in one bedroom with my sisters. My parents sleep in the other bedroom. We sleep on the 3rd floor. On the 2nd floor is the living room and kitchen. In my bedroom, we have a tv and radio. I also have a bookcase with many cartoon books on the shelves.

My house is on Sukhumwit Road near the fire station. It is a big house with three floors and four bedrooms. We also have a garden with flowers and trees. I play basketball in the garden. On the ground floor we have a living room, dinning room and kitchen. On the 2nd floor there are two bedrooms and an office. On the 3rd floor there are two more bedrooms and a bathroom. I sleep on the 3rd floor. My bedroom has air-conditioning.

I live in a wooden house down a quiet lane off Sukhumwit Road. Our house is small but we have a big garden. There is only one floor. We have a living room where we also cook and one bedroom. We don’t have air-conditioning so it is sometimes hot at night. During the daytime, I like playing in the garden. Sometimes I play hide and seek with my friends.

Write about your school.
Name of your school and location
Size and type of school
Your classroom and teacher
Favourite subjects and teachers
school hours
how you go to and from school
school uniform
favourite school lunches
activities at lunchtime
best friends

I go to Sriwittayapaknam School. There are 1741 students aged between three and fifteen. We have a kindergarten, primary and junior high school. My classroom is on the 5th floor. There are 40 students in my class. I am the class captain. My best friend is Wararat. School starts at 8 a.m. with the school assembly. I have three lessons in the morning and three lessons in the afternoon. Lunch is between 11.30 a.m. and 12.30 p.m. My favourite school lunch is rice and fried chicken. At lunchtime, I like to play in the computer room. I go home at 5 p.m. with my father.

I go to Sriwittayapaknam School in Samut Prakan. I go by car. My school is very big. We have 1741 students and two buildings. One building has 5 floors and the other has 6 floors. We have three computer rooms with 150 computers. We also have a big gym. My school uniform is blue skirt and white blouse. I wear a dark blue tie with stripes on it. I usually arrive at school at 7.30 a.m. My first lesson starts at 8.40 a.m. We have three breaks in one day. One small one after the first lesson, one at mid-day and one in the afternoon. My favourite subject is English and Math. At lunchtime I usually play football. My last lesson finishes at 3.15 p.m. but I stay on for an extra lesson. I usually go home at 5 p.m. I go home by school bus.

My school is in Samut Prakan. It’s name is Sriwittayapaknam. I like my school. It is big and beautiful. In the playground there are many plants and flowers. There is also a basketball court and football pitch. There are 1741 students and 74 teachers. I can learn at this school for 12 years. My classroom is on the 5th floor near the lift. There are 42 students in my class. We have a blackboard, map of Thailand, book shelves, King’s picture, Buddha image and Thai flag. We learn 6 subjects a day. I stay after school every day with my friends to learn an extra lesson with my teacher. My favourite subject is P.E. because it is fun.

Write about your free time.
Things you do at the weekend
Places you have been to
Your holidays

Write about what you usually do at the weekend:

I don’t have much time to rest at the weekend as I have to study hard. I have private lessons on both Saturday and Sunday in Bangkok. Afterwards, I usually go shopping in Siam Square or watch a movie. At home I help keep the house clean and look after the dogs. I like watching television and chatting with my friends on the telephone. I sometimes play basketball or football with my friends or sleep in bed.

At the weekend, I have extra lessons on Saturday morning but the rest of the time is my free time. At home I help my parents. I clean the house and wash the clothes. When I am not busy, I watch tv or read cartoon books. Sometimes I help my mother sell flowers in the market. On Sundays I like going out with my family. We usually go to Central City or Seacon Square.

Write about what you did last weekend:

Last weekend I went to Pattaya with my family. We went by car. Pattaya is in the east of Thailand and is a popular seaside resort. We stayed in a hotel by the sea for one night. On Saturday and Sunday I played in the sea with my family. In the evening we walked around the town and then ate at Pizza Hut. We had a really fun time.

On Sunday I went to visit my grandparents in Kanchanaburi. I like my grandparents because they always give me a present when I visit them. My grandfather doesn’t work now because he is retired. He is in his late seventies. My grandmother is in her seventies too. We went to Kanchanaburi by car. It took more than two hours to drive there. I was tired when we arrived and a little bored. While my parents chatted with my grandparents, I played with my cousins. Then, after lunch, we went to visit a waterfall. We played in the water and had really good fun. It was dark by the time we got back home. I enjoyed myself.

Yesterday I went to Bangkok with my father and younger brother. We visited Dusit Zoo. We walked around and saw many animals. My favourite animal was the giraffe. It has a very long neck. My brother was scared of the snakes. He doesn’t like them. After lunch, we fed the fish and then we went on a boat on the lake. That was really fun. We stayed at the zoo for nearly 3 hours. When we went home we were tired so we slept on the bus.

Asking Questions

(a) About their school
How big is your school?
How many students and teachers are there?
How many students are there in your class?
What do you do at lunchtime?
What is your favourite school lunch?
What is your favourite subject?
What time does school start and finish?
How do you go to school?
How many days a week do you go to school?
How many computers do you have at school?

(b) About their country
How many people in your country?
Do you live in the city or country?
What is the main religion?
What is a popular festival?
What is a popular food?
Do you have any wild animals?

(c) About your penfriend
How old are you?
Where were you born?
What are your hobbies?
What is your religion?
What do you like doing in your free time
Can you play a musical instrument?
What is your favourite movie?
Do you have any pets?
Where did you go on your holiday?
What do you want to be when you grow up?

(d) About their family and home
What are your parent’s occupations?
How many people are there in your house?
How many brothers and sisters do you have?
How big is your house?
Do you have a television in your bedroom?
Do you eat dinner with your parents?
Does your house have a garden?


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