This assignment requires that you understand the conventions for what is called a "friendly letter." This type of correspondence differs from a "business letter" not only in its formatting but also in that it allows you to be less formal in your wording and subject matter. A friendly letter has five separate parts, as described below.
Return address/date: In the upper right corner of your paper or stationery, write your street address on the top line; your city, state, and ZIP code on the second line; and the date on the third line.
Salutation: Skip a couple of lines. Now beginning at the left margin, write "Dear" followed by your cousin's first name and a comma.
Body: After this, write whatever you want to tell your cousin about what happened on the first day of school. Consider dividing the body into five separate paragraphs. In the first paragraph, introduce what you plan to write about. Then devote three paragraphs to three different topics regarding the first day of school. For example, you could write about your teacher(s), the students, and your favorite class. Or you could write about the morning, lunchtime, and the afternoon. Or you could choose three interesting incidents from the day and write one paragraph describing each. Finally, as a fifth paragraph, ask your cousin about himself/herself so he/she knows you care and want a response. Your language in these paragraphs should be friendly and informal. Use words that sound like you and that you would use with someone you know well.
Closing: After your fifth or final paragraph, start on the next line but in the middle of the page horizontally. Write the words, "Your cousin," followed by a comma.
Signature: Under the closing, sign your name. Since you probably know your cousin well, your first name should be sufficient.
Below is a sample of how your letter might look:
123 Main St. (start at horizontal middle)
Anytown, MN 55555 (start at middle)
September 7, 20xx (start at middle)
Wait till you hear about my first day at school. My teachers are amazing, I've already made two new friends, and I love my English class.
My favorite teacher is...
Two girls introduced themselves to me at lunchtime. Their names are . . .
For English this year, we're going to be reading some wonderful novels. The one I'm most looking forward to is . . .
Let me know how your first day went. What did you wear? I can't wait to hear from you.
Your cousin, (start at horizontal middle)
Sarah (start at middle)