"The kids were excited that they could use letters to express their creativity. There were choices they could make, not just about the content of the letters themselves, but about how they were presented. The idea that there were stamps beyond the basic flag stamp seemed like a revelation." --Sara Glassman

[Guest Post] Kids and Snail Mail

Today’s guest blogger is LetterMo Community Member Sara Glassman, a bookseller, school librarian, jewelry maker, and passionate letter writer. She has a stationary and postcard addiction that she is not trying very hard to recover from. This is her third year participating in LetterMo. Be sure to check out her blog, Twitter, and Instagram.

The accepted wisdom nowadays is that the younger generation will probably never send a letter. They have texting, email, Snapchat, and Facebook messages. Do they even know what a stamp is?

Maybe it’s because I work as a librarian and a bookseller, but I never believe in the imminent destruction of the things I love like the postal service or physical books. And, luckily, my job seems to be bearing me out. I’m still selling plenty of books every day and I got to watch two classrooms full of students get genuinely excited about writing letters.

As my second job, I work as the librarian at local Montessori school. One of the annual student projects is to write thank you letters to their parents or guardians at Thanksgiving. This year I offered to come in and do a special presentation about the wonders of the mail. And almost forty kids were enthralled with the various artifacts I brought to show them.

I showed them my Letter Writers Alliance membership card, various stamps from my collection, and then I showed them all the things I had to decorate their envelopes.

Now, I am not very skilled at mail art, but I AM enthusiastic. I arrived with a basket of washi tape, a Spirograph with plenty of markers, and an assortment of wax seals.

"Maybe it’s because I work as a librarian and a bookseller, but I never believe in the imminent destruction of the things I love like the postal service or physical books." --Sara Glassman

And then I spent over an hour sealing letters while other students used the Spirograph or washi tape to do their own decorating. We discussed other people they might want to write letters to and the idea of starting up a Pen Pal club. We are now actively looking for another school the students can exchange letters with!

The kids were excited that they could use letters to express their creativity. There were choices they could make, not just about the content of the letters themselves, but about how they were presented. The idea that there were stamps beyond the basic flag stamp seemed like a revelation.

"The kids were excited that they could use letters to express their creativity. There were choices they could make, not just about the content of the letters themselves, but about how they were presented. The idea that there were stamps beyond the basic flag stamp seemed like a revelation." --Sara Glassman

The teachers and I were able to take a yearly assignment in writing a letter and turn it into an adventure. And it’s an adventure that many of the kids want to have again.The teachers and I were able to take a yearly assignment in writing a letter and turn it into an adventure. And it’s an adventure that many of the kids want to have again.

To make things even better, the letter writing lesson came with a song!

(To the tune of The Addams Family theme song)

The five parts of a letter
Are easy to remember
Heading, greeting, body,
Closing, signature

Parts of a letter (snap, snap)
Parts of a letter (snap, snap)
Parts of a letter, parts of a letter, parts of a letter (snap, snap)

If anyone is curious about the seals, the Stormtrooper seal came from MisterStamp on Etsy and the crossed quills seal came from the Letter Writers Alliance.

22 thoughts on “[Wayback Repost] Why do letters seem more daunting than email?”

  1. Having been a letter writer for several years now, I don’t particularly find this challenge all that difficult, other than remembering to do it every day instead of when the whim takes me to write. And since I may not have a penpal’s letter to answer, then I need to think outside my normal circle of penpals and write to others. I saw this as an opportunity to reconnect with a few old penpals that had lapsed, family members that live outside of the city, friends I haven’t seen in a while, and strangers or persons of stature. I think it’s a great challenge and maybe it will even boost the joy of those who process all this mail and deliver it to us. 🙂

  2. I love your post. And I totally agree.

    Email, tweets n twitters, FB comments all have their place and moment in time where they are the appropriate way to respond.

    However, sending a letter, postcard, or notecard is the only way to connect with someone on a more personal, even intimate, level.

    The act of sending a missive does take time, but more importantly it takes thought. What paper will I use? What will I add (stickers, washi, etc.)? What will I say? Combined these choices will be a bright spot in someone’s day. Added bonus? It was created specifically for them.

  3. Great article on postcard apps but you should also take a look at Postsnap’s easy to use postcard app.
    http://www.postsnap.com
    https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/postsnap-best-postcard-sending/id650814139?mt=8
    The app offers a number of unique features compared to the other apps reviewed including:
    – Guest checkout with Apple Pay
    – Extensive personalization options including collage layouts, stylish borders which can be adjusted in size with a slider and the option to add editable text in a variety of font types and colors and position it anywhere on the cards
    – iPhone and iPad support
    – Apple Pencil support
    – Facebook and Instagram integration
    – US postal address verification and UK postcode lookup
    Cards are printed and posted in our facilities in the UK, USA and Australia on the same or next working day and so cards typically arrive quickly. Enjoy!
    Stephen Homer
    Founder
    Postsnap

  4. I have been writing letters for several years now. My go to paper is Rhodia Premium or Rhodia Ice pads. I also Life pads too. I like them because they are not quite as slick as the Rhodia.

  5. I love Tomoe River paper for letter writing. I buy 100 sheets at a time and print my own mermaid stationery. I found an envelope that I like and ordered a mermaid address stamp and finish it off with mermaid washi tape.

  6. I too love journals to pull apart for writing. For me the most important aspect of the paper is the pattern. I love to have some colour and some design on the paper. I’ve managed to find a number of nice colours and designs at one of my local “Home Sense” discount stores in the book section. Most of the small journals are a perfect size to fit in the envelopes I use. If not I just give one edge a bit of a trim (but sometimes I really like the ripped edge look too!) ;P

  7. Hi, Christmas cards & more recently a letter (a bill) from the UK to Australia have taken 3 weeks to arrive. The exterior of these envelopes were stamped with a mark such as this from the latest envelope:
    DLC 992-4
    14:55
    26/07/2017
    The example quoted arrived at the Australian address on 28/07/2017, unfortunately it contained a bill dated 06/07/2017 which had to be paid within 14 days, by 20/07/2017.
    Why is the post so slow? What does the DLC 992-4 stamp signify? Would appreciate your feedback.

  8. My letter that I wrote was in September. The person who it was for still hasn’t gotten it and it’s now November….
    I don’t understand why it’s taking this long. I live in AZ and he lives in NY. I want answers.

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