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Handwritten Letters: A Bygone Era?

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Teaching and Learning
March 22, 2016

Call me old fashioned, but I like to receive mail. You know, the kind that comes in an envelope with a postage stamp that you retrieve from..wait for it...a mailbox. So now that the world has come to prefer inboxes, FaceBook messages, Instagrams and a whole plethora of terms I do not know, I must pose the question: are students and the world slowly evolving to the point where the art of a handwritten letter will be lost on the next plugged-in digital generation? I hope not!

My own children were blessed to have a wonderful 8th grade English teacher who had them write a different type of letter every week, and although it was, at times, torturous for us as parents to watch, they thank her quite often in their current professional lives.

These students wrote return-item letters, wrong-part letters, non-renewal letters, fan letters to athletes and film stars and letters to their elected representatives--from city council members to the president of the United States (and everyone in between). Some of their fellow classroom peers received autographed pics or a letter in return. The true reward, though, is that years later, they routinely compose letters at the computer, articulating their case or request in the correct format with dates and salutations in their proper places.

They also, and in my opinion, more importantly, learned the value of a handwritten note or letter. This is the epitome of a personal touch; when someone takes the time to hand write a note, I am more likely to want to stay connected with that person.

Even though my grandchildren are still too young to know what a letter is (both are under a year old), I fully intend within the next six months to begin sending them weekly letters--a great way to stay connected and something for them to look forward to as they get older.

To quote a famous person…”keep those cards and letters coming.”

Happy letter writing to all.

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