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National Letter Writing Week

Updated on September 12, 2014

National Letter Writing Week is the 2nd week in January

Letter writing is becoming a lost art and yet, there is much to be said for putting pen or pencil to paper.

Long before the Internet or cheap phone calls, communication was done by mail. Letter writing was something we all did. We would mail our letters and wait for a response. There was so much to look forward to and the letters were read and reread.

In the new era of instant gratification, response that takes longer than a minute seems like years. We have all gotten used to texting and cell phones and no longer write down our thoughts.

National Letter Writing Week is an effort to retain the art of writing. I still love getting letters and appreciate the folks who think enough of me to send a letter.

Stationery for writing a letter

CR Gibson Boxed Stationery With 50 Sheets of Letter Paper and 25 Envelopes, Vanilla (CS81-4)
CR Gibson Boxed Stationery With 50 Sheets of Letter Paper and 25 Envelopes, Vanilla (CS81-4)

Stationery used to be easy to find with heavier paper that would hold up to erasers. This set is vanilla colored paper and the one that I use. It has become increasing difficult to find so I tend to stick with one I like.

 

But what do I write about?

Until you develop a writing relationship, getting started might take some doing. Here are a couple of ways to start writing.

  1. Start a Round Robin. This traditional letter is one that flourished in my family for years. My mother and her seven siblings used it to share family news without writing to the others individually. It's an old way of sharing information but efficient. A Round Robin is a group of people who write to each other and add all the letters to one envelope. You receive the letter that contains one from each person on the list. You remove your previous letter and add a new one with current goings-on. The letter is then mailed to the next person in line and they do the same. Each person has a time limit to get the letter back into the mail. We couldn't wait for the round robin to arrive.

  2. Note card - Adults and children can find time to write a note card. I tend to fill out the whole black space from top to bottom but just a quick note is better than no note at all. Note cards are not letters but share information on an event that happened or some small piece of information that needs to be shared. Usually I send note card talking about something cute my grandson has done or do a follow-up with someone who had information in a letter that I want to know more about.

  3. Letter - Teach children the letter format. Greeting, body of the letter, closing and signature. While many cover letters for employment and other business applications are online, many still need to be completed in the traditional letter format. A letter is a longer than a note card with the letter format. For goodness sakes, get them to add the date too. Children may have trouble deciding what to put into a letter. Get them to write about what they did that day. Have them talk about favorite activities. Once they get the line of communication opened with grandparents or other family members, that will change and they will have plenty to share.

  4. Thank you note - While not a letter, a handwritten thank you is always in good taste. I know that I am guilty of not sending personal notes. I do say thank you but tend to use the Internet. That is one of the things I will change because if someone gives me a gift or goes out of their way to do something to help, they deserve what little time it takes me to write the note.

Children's stationery

144 Mega Student Bookmark Assortment, School Supplies, Kids Stationery & Stationery Assortments
144 Mega Student Bookmark Assortment, School Supplies, Kids Stationery & Stationery Assortments

It's easier for kids to write when they have something fun. While us older folks prefer the nice stationary, kids like the fun colors.

 

Who do I write to?

That is a question I got from my child when I told him we were going to learn to write letters. Being from the technical generation, he doesn't see the need to write a letter when there are more effective methods. This is part of the problem because we have all become used to picking up the phone or sending an email.

So, we start at the beginning. There are lots of people to write to.

This is not just for kids. Adults sometime wonder who they can write to. Somehow we all get so busy we forget the obvious.

  1. Soldiers - We either have some one or know someone who has a family member or friend in the Armed Services. We do a great job during the holidays sending cards and letters to those who are away from home but the rest of the year is a wonderful opportunity to send a greeting from home. Send a letter to someone you know.

    If you would like to write to our soldiers, check out the Soldier's Angels website.

  2. Pen Pal - This used to be a lot of fun and we felt free to write to anyone. Things have changed and pen pals are really only available on the Internet. However, giving it some thought, school groups and homeschooling groups can write and send letters to each other, It can still be an adventure and parents might have friends with children who would enjoy writing to each other.

  3. Grandparents or Grandchildren should write to each other. For the grandparents, it's a way of strengthening the bonds with their grandchildren. For the grandchildren, not only is it a way to work on writing skills but they share the most amazing things with their grandparents and the letters are a treasure.

  4. Family far away from home - We have family far away from home. There are cousins to write to and I remember writing to my cousin on a regular basis. It kept us close as children and we have just rediscovered each other after many years. Communication is by email now but the writing we did so long ago has certainly enabled us to reopen the dialog.

  5. Friends down the street - Children can write to friends down the street or around the neighborhood. They don't have to be far away. It is the fun of receiving letters and writing back that makes them want to continue.

  6. People who need to know that you care - Is there someone you know that needs a word of cheer. We know people that we don't see often and a letter here and there is most welcomed. Even just a quick note in the mail can cheer me up all day. I know that it does for them too.

Is letter writing truly a lost art?

Do you miss writing and receiving letters?

See results

Make it easy and keep the tools handy

Rolodex Mesh Pencil Cup Organizer, Four Compartments, Steel, 9 1/3"x4 1/2"x4", Black (1746466)
Rolodex Mesh Pencil Cup Organizer, Four Compartments, Steel, 9 1/3"x4 1/2"x4", Black (1746466)

No more, "I can't find a pen" It's easier to write when the supplies are right there.

 

Isn't it great that we can't text our comments?

Comments are kind of like getting a letter. The anticipation that someone will read this and leave a comment is the biggest treat on Squidoo. Leave me a comment and make my day.

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    • bossypants profile image

      bossypants 5 years ago from America's Dairyland

      I hadn't heard of the round robin letter -- amazing in a family that wrote letters as much as mine did! I love, love, love this lens! We can revive letter writing! There is nothing quite like getting a letter in the mail.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Love the round-robin idea. My great-aunts and uncles did this, and one of them saved 40 years of her own letters when the robin returned to her. I'll be using them to write a book about her life in Alaska where she was a missionary.

    • Holysheepskin LM profile image

      Holysheepskin LM 5 years ago

      I totally agree that letter writing is lost, and admit I am guilty of wanting that instant gratification. My intention this year is to slow down and live in the moment and in trying to also teach my children this, I am going to teach them letter writing. Maybe we will start with writing a letter to each other. I often beg them to let me take their picture as one day I will have only these to look at everyday when they are busy with their own life adventures, so how nice would it be to read a letter saved and capture those moments.