Although we know that Letter Writing Day occurs on December 7th every year, nobody seems to know where this special day came from. Some say it originated in Japan, as the Japanese celebrate letter writing each month. Wherever it came from, letter writing is “as old as written language - people in ancient civilizations communicated with each other through letters written on a variety of different surfaces.”
Some people feel that letter writing is becoming a lost art with the advance of technology and the introduction of the digital world. While all communication formats have value, let’s embrace this special day by bringing back the personal note in any form from a signed painting in the early grades to a poem or dialogue in the older grades.
Young children love to express themselves in so many ways! Explain that they are going to send a personal letter to their family. Depending on their word recognition and writing ability, students’ texts will vary. Ask the students to draw or paint a picture of their family. Have them include pets and extended family. Once students have finished, have them sign their name and write or print a short message on their artwork. This resource may help you here.
Note: As always, please be sensitive to children who may not reside with their families, or who may have recently experienced a loss.
Ask students to think of someone in your school or community that they would like to thank. Discuss options and what might be the content of a note or letter to this person. Review the standard format for letter writing and ask the students to hand-write a letter to this person. Emphasize detail and format. Make an envelope and have the students deliver their mail directly to the recipient. Process the experience by asking the students why a handwritten note or letter might mean more to someone than an email or text.
There are many forms of letter writing that may be interesting for your students to explore here.
Discuss when a hand-written letter might be the best form of communication. Who would appreciate getting a hand-written letter? Why?
Explain that although most people today use technology to write and edit their correspondence, letter writing itself is still an important skill.
Review the format for a formal letter (see sites below for helpful templates). Ask the students to use the correct format for a formal letter and apply for a job as something whimsical such as a Drone Designer or a Smart Phone Case Developer. Generate a list with students of some other fun or kooky jobs that they could use for the subject of their letter.
Brainstorm some skills that may be required for the position and what might make their letter stand out from the others. Share when completed.