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Letter writing used to be the only form of communication until telephones were invented and totally changed the way we communicate. Technology has made significant changes in the way we communicate. Email is instant, whereas the soonest a handwritten letter reaches its recipient is the next day! Though emails correct spellings automatically and suggest changes to grammar, it has led to us having scant regard for spellings!! Emil is convenient but it cannot match the personal touch of a hand-written letter.
Letters offered us a place to let our hearts out. It allowed us to pen our thoughts, however random and utilize the limited space available. Open a letter that you have received and see how you are overcome with nostalgia! The paper with its random inkblots or accidental coffee stains, the folds of the paper, the stamps – all these took interaction beyond words. Reading something that has been handwritten by someone is almost like meeting and conversing with that person and shows the personality of the writer that seeps into the paper.
In today’s age of fast-paced communication and busy-ness, many children may have never laid their eyes on an inland letter or even set foot in a post office. The art of letter writing – the art of simply sitting, sharing, and caring has been lost.
Help your children put pen to paper today, revive the art of letter writing and send to letters to the special ones in their lives. Letter writing can be fun and it helps children learn to compose written text and provide handwriting practice too. Not to mention, letters are valuable keepsakes!!
Here are four reasons why it is relevant even today and hence important to teach your child to write a letter
Reasons to encourage your children to write letters:
- Adds a personal touch to keeping in touch
No modern technology can substitute the warmth and sincerity of a written letter. It offers a personal touch to ‘keeping in touch’. Hand-written letters are filled with encouragement, compliments, and advice, and all of this in a one-to-one letter.
- Relive Joy, Create memories and Kick in Nostalgia
The delight of receiving a letter by mail is something that the present generation has not felt. Opening an envelope addressed to you, the familiar handwriting, reading out the contents, smelling the ink are all gifts to cherish. They are the perfect tools to kick in nostalgia and relive the moment and joys, when you discover or reread the letter years later. Handwritten letters have a certain value and this is the reason why we preserve old letters!
- Bond over family and bring Happiness
A hand-written letter, note or message can bring immense happiness to family and friends. Think about the joy when a grandparent receives a grand-child’s art and a handwritten note! What’s more, writing letters together as a family can also be a great way to bond. A handwritten letter is a thing of beauty our children can share with family and friends!
- Great way to express thoughts
Handwritten letters are a great way to express thoughts and feelings. It provides the opportunity to stop, think and write with the added advantage of being intimate and sincere. Thus letter writing can help with vocabulary, writing skills, and all associated benefits. Not just skill benefits, they also offer emotional benefits in terms of making the letter writers feel valued, appreciated, and useful. Writing letters regularly also motivates children to slow down, think and write about deeper things in life.
Ways to Kindle Letter Writing in Children
Here are some activities to foster the lost art of letter writing in our children.
- Make letter writing a family tradition. Encourage the older generation to write to your children and get your children to respond back in writing. Write together as a family for important events and occasions – festivals, the beginning of summer, the end of vacations, end of the school year.
- Write Thank you letters and notes at every possible opportunity. Make it mandatory for your children to write thank-you letters when they receive a gift, or after they have attended a party at someone’s home. These will make a good follow up exercise after receiving presents or going on a visit.
- Indulge in regular hand-written letters to friends and pen-pals. For children, finding a pen pal can be a great way to practice letter writing. You can talk to your friends and get them to be pen-pals with your kids. Children love receiving handwritten letters and the cycle of sending and receiving letters become a regular occurrence.
- Encourage children to write to magazines and newspapers with their feedback, articles, and appreciation.
- Write letters for every occasion – Write about an educational field trip or memorable outing to a grandparent, cousin, or friend describing your experience. Write hand-written invitation letters, congratulations letters, apology letters, letters to exchange news, letters responding to someone who is undergoing a bad time — showing how much you care by trying to share their sadness.
- Make a letter-writing box with all essentials – papers, envelopes, addresses-book etc. Keep a supply of attractive stationery and writing supplies on hand and use them – invite your child and use them together.
- Schedule a day and make time for letter writing.
Fun Activities to Inspire Children to Write Letters
- Letter Writing Prompts –Letter writing prompts begin with a few guiding questions to help children explore the value of the written letter. Here are some ideas for letter writing prompts:
- Write a letter to Willy Wonka (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) on why you should be chosen to run the Chocolate factory instead of Charlie.
- Use letter writing in lessons. This will not only improve letter writing skills but also help them understand concepts. Some examples:
- Write a letter pretending to be an alien requesting for information about Life on Earth, and respond with the answer. This can be done by an individual child or two children – one requesting information and the other responding with the information.
- Write a letter to a friend who lives far-away on why you cannot visit them and share information about your city and all it’s details (history, geography, culture etc.) with them.
- Write a letter to a historical character about why you like them, their achievements and what they could have done better.
- Sing this Song to learn parts of a Letter
- Read books about Letter Writing or where letters form the basic premise.
- Listen to this story read-aloud of the children’s picture book, The Letter by N.D.Byma. This is a charming story of a young girl who wants to write a letter to someone very special but cannot find the words. She will soon discover that fate has plans to write a letter for her.
- Watch this quick tutorial on Letter Writing
- Send little gifts along with the letter – bookmarks, cards, stickers, comic strips from newspapers, photos, artwork, paper masks, etc. Here are some fun ideas:
- Write a note, put it in a deflated balloon and send it with the letter. Or you can write a note on the balloon. To read it, the recipient has to blow it up!
- Send messages in a post-it note along with the letter, that the recipient can stick on his desk.
- Send a hug in your letter with this easy DIY.
- Send coded messages