An informal letter has 5 important elements that must be included in the write-up: -
1. sender’s address
3. salutation (“Dear…”)
4. complementary close (“Yours truly” etc)
Here is an example of how an informal letter would look like in terms of layout: [ideasforenglish] Informal Letter
1. Start off your letter with some general statements. For example, you can refer to the letter that you received from him/her, thank him/her for it or even apologise for the late reply. Weaker students can be given a “standard” introduction to memorise and use.
2. State the purpose of your letter. In general, informal letters are meant for asking advice/help, extending an invitation, offering congratulations/condolences etc. Remember, this should come before going into the main points of your letter. Again, weaker students can be taught a “standard” phrase to introduce the purpose such as “The reason why I am writing this letter is to…”
Also, it may be worthwhile to show students how to derive the purpose of the letter from the question itself.
Your cousin has been chosen to take part in the National Service Programme and is worried about going. You have decided to write a letter to tell him/her about the benefits of this programme and to encourage your cousin to go. (SPM 2010)
Purpose: The reason why I am writing this letter is to tell you about the benefits of the National Service Programme.
The purpose of the letter usually comes after the phrase “write a letter to”. If possible however, students should refrain from direct lifting because certain words might have to be replaced in the answer (“him/her” > “you”).
3. Also, bear in mind that SPM questions do not make a distinction between informal and formal letters. In other words, they do not specify the type of letter required. It is up to the students to interpret the question and answer accordingly. The choice between informal and formal letter is of course, dependent on the recipient of the letter. Typically, letters to a friend, siblings, cousins etc would be informal while letters to the Principal and other official positions would be formal. Make sure students are aware of this fact.
PS: Sorry for the late update. Was away for the weekend.