[Guest Post] Kids and Snail Mail

February 4, 2016 in Journal

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.

4 responses to [Guest Post] Kids and Snail Mail

  1. I love this! And I agree that kids can learn to love corresponding through cards and letters if they’re given the chance. I’m a Postcrosser, and I once did a program on Postcrossing for my son’s 5th-grade class, during the school’s International Week. In all of my years of volunteering in the schools, I’d never seen kids so energized about a class project. Each child wrote a postcard to a Postcrosser overseas, and they were amazed to learn that a person on the other side of the world would actually hold these same cards and read their words. I can imagine how thrilled they would be about decorating envelopes, as well! Great work. I hope every LetterMo participant makes a point this month of writing to at least one person under the age of 21. We’ve got to let them in on the wonders of snail mail!

  2. Brilliant! Kiddies need mail and how to send it 🙂 well done!

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