World Letter Writing Day: September 1, 2021
According to its official website, World Letter Writing Day was created in 2014 by Richard Simpkin. On September 1 each year, everyone is encouraged to pick up a pen or pencil and some paper and write someone a letter.
With so many ways to communicate via technology, it may seem that letter-writing is a thing of the past. Yet, for many children, handwritten notes are often among the first types of greetings that they may send.
Toddlers start by printing their names on things like Valentines or a drawing that they are giving to someone. Preschoolers might add some heartfelt words to a card sent for someone's birthday or another special occasion. When they get to school, older children might pass notes to each other or they could send letters home from summer camp. And of course, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are still among the most popular recipients of letters from kids of all ages.
There are many positive aspects related to letter writing.
For younger children, writing (of any kind) is a wonderful activity that will help them to get Ready for Reading. Encourage scribbling, writing and drawing in daily activities. Give your child opportunities to practice writing their name or let them "write" notes or lists.
Older children can use letter-writing as a way of practicing their handwriting, which is a discipline that may slowly disappear as we rely more and more on typing and technology to communicate. And learning how to write a proper letter, even if it isn't done by hand, is a life skill that is an asset for everyone, whether they are using it in business, a job search, activism, or their interpersonal relationships.
Letters in Literature
Authors sometimes choose to tell entire stories through letters. This is known as epistolary fiction. (Though it should be noted that this type of writing may now also include stories told through emails, texts and other forms of communication.) A collection of letters can also provide information in a non-fiction book, making up all or part of its contents.
Beginning Readers (BR) and Early/Easy Readers (ER)
Reading a book told through letters is one way to celebrate World Letter Writing Day. Writing a letter to your favourite author is another.
Journeys: Young Readers' Letters to Authors Who Changed Their Lives edited by Catherine Gourley (ages 8-12+)
Whether you choose to do so by reading or writing or both, take some time to celebrate World Letter Writing Day. And if you still need a reason why, think about this quotation from Richard Simpkin:
"We are more expressive when we write a letter compared to an email or txt where we just want to take short cuts, we try not to make spelling mistakes when we write, we usually take pride in our handwriting & we all want our letters to look & sometimes feel special to the receiver, a hint of perfume, a photo, a favourite flower petal. We usually just make more of an effort."
(Plus it will help to get you ready for Pen Pal Day when it comes around again on June 1!)