The Letter-Essay, an assignment advocated by Donalyn Miller in her book, The Book Whisperer, has become a hallmark of my Reader's Workshop. It is many things: a formative assessment, a tool for helping students hone their summarizing skills, a platform for their reading reflections, and an opportunity to share their thoughts about books with their teacher, their peers and the world (if your classroom blogs). I break the Letter--Essay into three parts: the Introduction, the Summary, and the Reflection. This product includes a model of each part of the Letter-Essay (which I wrote, using The Little Prince), along with a checklist which I give to my students at the start of every trimester, along with a list of Sentence Starters to help guide students in their reflection (which I adapted from Donalyn Miller). In the beginning of the year, I show them the model of the entire Letter-Essay, explain the task, audience and purpose, and how students will be graded (holistically, with 50 points being a check-plus). I then introduce the models of each section and annotate the criteria for each section (for the Summary, I use the method of Somebody Wants But So [yes, even for 8th Graders]). Then we practice writing a Letter-Essay together in our Reader's Notebooks; when we get to the part when we are practicing writing the Reflection, I distribute the Sentence Starters sheet and have students tape that into their notebooks. Once everyone has a model Letter-Essay written in their notebook, then I distribute the Checklist and set up due dates for the trimester and the students are then responsible for completing them when they are due.