Is Letter-writing becoming a lost art?

This afternoon I did a letter-writing exercise with my 7-year old son as part of his Phonics/Spelling curriculum. It taught correct usage and formatting of the Header, Greeting, Body, Closing and Signature. Now i’m all in favor of learning the basics of many things and getting a good foundational education – but I started to wonder if it would be at all relevant to him in 14 or 15 years when he’s looking for (or working in) his first job. Will anyone write physical & formal letters anymore, or is letter-writing slowly becoming a lost art?

2 Responses to “Is Letter-writing becoming a lost art?”

  1. 1 kirabug May 29, 2010 at 6:51 am

    Just read a tweet from a comic artist I know (@kez) who said,

    When emailing someone you don’t know, it’s best to default to 1, be polite, and 2, give people a clue what you’re talking about.

    It made me think about this post, because those are skills I’ve observed many email writers haven’t mastered at all, especially when talking to strangers. Any customer service department in the world that answers email can confirm that for you. (Unfortunately, so can most of the responses many of them write!)

    Whether physical letters are in existence or not, the act of writing a letter so that the recipient understands who you are and what you want shouldn’t become a lost art. The formality of the Header, Greeting, Body, and Closing are all still excellent things to include in a letter, even if eventually your son learns that the information (especially in the header) could easily migrate to a different section when he’s writing email.

    I’m glad your son’s school is still teaching it!

  2. 2 Eric Reiss December 3, 2010 at 3:13 am

    Picasso could draw a bull in 30 seconds. As art is was magnificent. When asked why this sketch cost thousands of dollars, he answered “because of the 4000 bulls that came before it.”

    Your son is learning important skills in diplomacy, etiquette, social structure, and communication, as well as basic letter-writing. If he learns these things now, he will write better e-mails when he is 20.

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