This unit is designed to develop students’ understanding of the importance of letters in Austen’s work and in her own life. It is based on Emma, a novel where written communication between the characters has a significant importance on the plot. At the same time it introduces some of the characters and the plot of the novel.

Level: Upper-Intermediate / B2 onwards

Time: approx. 90 minutes

Main Aim(s):

  • To introduce students to the plot and characters in Emma
  • To engage students with the text and encourage extensive reading

Subsidiary aim(s):

  • To help students improve their listening and note-taking skills
  • To help students improve their vocabulary
  • To provide opportunities to develop the four skills
  • To work on past perfect simple and past perfect continuous tenses


  • Optional: some pictures of mobile phones, personal computers, Twitter and Facebook logos
  • Student worksheets (includes an extract from the novel Emma, by Jane Austen)
  • The YouTube video by PBS on the Morgan Library Exhibition on Austen’s letters 

Link: (Or transcript of the video on Austen’s letters – included in the answer key)

  • Dictionaries
  • Optional: further grammar activities on past perfect

Extra online resources:

  • British Council LearnEnglish: Past perfect

  • The Morgan Library & Museum: A woman's wit: Jane Austen's life and legacy 

Lesson plan by Chris Lima


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