Pen pal program shows the importance of letter writing

With young children growing up in a world filled with iPads, smartphones and computers, not many are familiar with the art of writing letters or sending thank you cards. But this important form of communication isn’t being phased out, thanks to Montgomery County’s America Writes program. The organization’s goal is to offer an interactive and exciting way for students to perfect their writing and reading skills.

How it works
Each student in various third grade classrooms is matched up with a pen pal who is an employee of SEI, a global provider of diversified financial services. Throughout the school year, both parties communicate with each other, writing about the happenings in the classroom and discussing current events, sports, pets and personal hobbies. The process is fun, but also extremely educational for students.

“Not only does the project allow students to improve their penmanship, but writing about their world and reading about someone else’s helps build vocabulary and reading development, develops critical thinking and problem solving skills, and helps them feel connected by sharing their stories and reading about another person’s life,” Marion Silver of RSVP of Montgomery County’s America Writes program explained to Montgomery News.

Teaching through writing
The letters that these children are writing and reading not only demonstrate the importance of letter writing, they help build reading and writing skills that will be crucial throughout each student’s academic journey. It’s a way for students to learn without actually realizing that they’re improving their reading and writing skills. These kids will figure out how to develop their own voice and learn how to transfer ideas and thoughts from their mind onto paper.

Through letter writing, these kids are making connections that they wouldn’t have otherwise made. The pen pals even got the chance to meet face-to-face for a pizza party at the school. It surprised one student to find out that he actually had more in common with his pen pal than he originally thought.

“It’s awesome meeting someone you’ve made friends with through letters,” one of the students told the source. “We had so much in common.”

However, it wasn’t just the students who were impacted by this exchange of letters. The adult pen pals discovered the common issues that kids are facing today, giving them a new perspective. Having a pen pal helps both parties to learn more about the world around them and see things from an entirely different point of view.