Friday, April 19, 2013

The Lost Art of Letter-Writing

Last week, my students spent some time learning about letter-writing.  While many of my students have experience writing friendly letters home from summer camp or writing emails to their friends, it should come as no surprise to us that their experience in letter writing is quite limited.  That's what you would expect of our digital natives, right?

What began as a simple review of "how to write a letter" turned into lessons that may stick with some of my students for years to come.  (I can only hope!)  As they began to write their letters, many of my students learned the following:

  • How to write a letter of appreciation to a friend, family member or teacher
  • How to write a letter of complaint when you are disappointed by a product or service 
  • How to write a letter of sympathy to someone struggling with an illness or loss
  • How to write a letter of thanks to an individual who has helped you, your community or your country 
  • How to write a letter to your teacher to give feedback in a respectful, tactful manner 
  • How to address an envelope  (Apparently, there are many 6th graders who have never addressed their own envelopes  until now.)

I was astonished by all of the lessons that grew from a little lesson on letter-writing. It reminded me that letter-writing truly is a lost art, and even though we have electronic means to communicate, we always need to know how to write a letter for a variety of purposes.

What do you think about the value of letter-writing with today's generation of learners?

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