Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Encouraging young letter writers

After I wrote yesterday's post, I got to thinking about how to encourage kids to write letters. Oh, I'm not anti-email or anti-texting...I just think that there's some value to knowing how to write a "real" letter, some joy in receiving a piece of snail mail, some satisfaction in dropping an envelope in a mailbox.

The best way to encourage kids to write letters is to write to them first. Write a letter to your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, cousins, etc.

Try to make the letters meaningful, something they'll want to keep and re-read. Congratulate them on a recent accomplishment, tell them how proud you are. Then, add in a little something about yourself, maybe mention how you enjoyed playing basketball, too, when you were in school, or maybe how you always struggled with math but that once you took geometry, you really enjoyed it. Ask them some questions, something to reply back to. Maybe ask about their pet or their plans for the summer.

Speaking of replies, one way to encourage the kids you're writing to, to write you back is to send them stationery. With your letter, include a piece of stationery, an envelope addressed to yourself and even a stamp. Find or make some fun note paper and envelopes, depending on the age of the child you're writing to. (See the fun envelopes I made, at left.) Don't forget...stamps can be fun, too! If your local post office doesn't have the ones you want, order them online.

Another way to make letter writing fun is to send postcards from places you visit. You might encourage a new hobby — postcard collecting, stamp collecting, etc. — as well.

Now, go write a letter (or two)!


My Dear Darling said...

Those are such great ideas to get kids writing. :D Wish I knew a kid to write to... Hehe, everyone has babies, not yet ready to write. :P

My Little Hands said...

You have me seriously considering starting up a penpal. I am sure there are online sites that set that up. Are there any out there that set up maybe age differences...like a mentor through the mail sort of thing? That would be awesome! I will research and re-comment if I find anything.

My Little Hands said...

Ok, this was faster than I thought, but here is a program that allows you to mentor kids in juvinile prison (to help encourage a better life).. and one that pairs you with kids with unfortunate living situations (young kids in foster care, etc.


I think I will sign up.

Thanks 365 for inspiring me!

LisavVi said...

I am giving my niece a letter writing kit for her birthday.
I bought several sets of cute stationery and am including fun pens and stamps. I have three boys and as much as I encourage them to write letters, I still find getting them to write even a few thank you notes a struggle. I'm hoping I'll have more luck with my niece. Right now she isn't a big letter writer. I'm hoping this kit will help.

Anonymous said...

Although I have no children of my own, my friends have kindly allowed their children and grandchildren to "adopt" me and I send notes and letters to them. The letter writing kit is a great idea, and one that will bring many smiles to the kids who receive it. One suggestion, though...give the postal stamps to their parent or guardian. Some of my young correspondents have thought the stamps were funny stickers and stuck them to their door, bureau, etc. Sigh. :)

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