The Lost Art of Letter Writing

Due to the technology era, many children have not had exposure to proper letter writing skills. Children communicate in written language through email, chat, text, and short sentences on social networking websites which do not follow the traditional letter formatting.  However, there are still many circumstances where children should learn how to write a formal letter.  For example, children will need to utilize letter writing skills to write a letter to a company, college entrance papers, a cover letter for a resume, a thank you letter, a formal email to a teacher, or even just a letter to friends or family.  Here are some resources and examples of letters you can have your children write at home to practice formal letter writing.

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Teach Kid Show

Teach Kid Show has a great article about how to teach your child how to write a letter.  This article provides steps for helping your child learn how to write a letter at home depending on their age.  They encourage preschool children to draw letters including any writing skills that they have already learned.  For lower elementary, they encourage children to start including the formal parts of a letter.  They encourage kids to find a pen pal so they can send and receive letters. At the upper elementary level, parents should encourage their children to write their letters on their own possibly including thank you notes and notes to businesses.  This site also provides links to other websites for more information on encouraging your children to write letters.

JC-Schools: Letter Writing Activities

Providing children an opportunity to write various type of letters based on engaging topics will courage children write letters at home.  JC-Schools has many creative ideas for letter writing.  Some examples include writing a letter to congress, the president, or a “letter” to a character in a book.  Letter ideas for older children could include writing an advice letter and a letter to an editor of a local newspaper.  This website provides links that provide directions on the various types of letters.

Read Write Think: Letter Generator

Read Write Think has an interactive website, called the Letter Generator, to teach children how to write a letter.  You start the generator, enter your name, and choose the type of letter you are writing.  Then you enter in the heading of the letter, the inside address, salutation, body, closing, and signature line.  Each of the parts is divided into easy to read steps that walk through what should be included at each part of the letter.  Then the child can print, save, or email their letter.  They also provide directions on how to address the envelope for the letter.  This is a great way for a child to learn the various parts of letter and to provide guided assistance when writing a letter involving technology.

Fun English Games – Interactive Writing Games

Fun English Games has a wide variety of online interactive games to teach children various writing skills like letter writing, story writing, and debate.  The letter writing activity provides children with a scenario that they bought a radio-controlled car that wasn’t working right and that they need to write a letter to the company.  The interactive online activity then guides the child through the various parts of a letter through choosing the appropriate text and phrases for a business style letter and then dragging and dropping the correct parts of a letter onto a template.  After each answer, correct or incorrect, feedback is provided.  This is definitely an activity that children would enjoy doing at home with the guidance of a parent.

Letter writing is an important skill that children should be exposed and encouraged to learn.  The home environment provides a great opportunity to teach this skill using technology.

Article By Laura Ketcham-VanHellemont

Picture By crimfants

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