This document describes a composition project that I have successfully used during my years of teaching at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. The composition project is to write a Problem-Solving Letter that gives the reader information that the reader can use. This is practical writing, as opposed to academic research papers that teachers grade and return to their students. Problem-Solving Letters tell readers information that the readers do not already know but that the readers would like to know and use. Academic research papers tend to tell the readers — teachers — information that the teachers already know. Academic research papers tend not to have information that the readers can use in their own lives.
The Problem-Solving Letter Project is useful because it teaches the students useful skills:
• How to Solve Problems
• How to Write Persuasively
• How to Write to a Real-World Audience as Opposed to a Teacher
• How to Use a Conventional Business Letter Format
Teachers are welcome to evaluate this assignment to see if they want to use it in their own classes. Teachers are welcome to adapt this assignment as desired.