Learning Objective: To write about, and respond to, issues raised in a book.
-To write in character.
NB: Prior to this activity, you may wish to look at examples of agony pages and responses, discussing the tone and language used.
There are numerous ways in which this lesson(s) could be carried out. I have made some suggestions below.
Activity 1 – writing an agony letter
1) At any given point in the book, discuss the main characters and what their principle problems might be.
2) Students choose a character and write a letter to an agony page in character, discussing his/her problem and asking for help.
Activity 2 – writing a response to an agony letter
1) Either a) take all of the letters from Activity 1 and distribute them around the class so each person gets a different letter to the one they wrote or b) choose one great example from Activity 1) and share it with the whole class.
2) Either way, each person then takes on the role of agony aunt/uncle. Read the problem letter carefully.
3) Students write a response to the problem, offering advice for how the character might find a solution.
This could be more interesting if the students wrote more than one response, in character as different people from the book. E.g. Write a response from Chas, followed by a response from Paul Beary.