The Death of Letter Writing

Some people say that writing a letter is a lost art. I don't think so. That is, I don't think that writing a letter should ever become a lost art, and yet it is.

I have an elementary school child, who is now in the 5th grade. I remember going through homework hell with parts of speech and their proper use. I remember when Spane was in 2nd grade in Mrs. Mary's class, and on Parent Visitation Day, Mrs. Mary had the children writing a letter. Mrs. Mary used the overhead to show the children the parts of writing a letter.

When email became available to the masses, there was no need for a pen and paper, but plenty of space and time to write out your thoughts. As email programs improved, spell and grammar check were included, and one could actually write a very good letter via email. Letter writing was back. Some people abused it, though, and frequently added unnecessary components, such as background images and even songs! It's one thing to attach a document for optional download, it's another for the recipient to have to download a huge background image accompanied by the sender's current favorite song, just for a short sentiment.

However, with the advent of texting, Twitter and such, short bites are the norm. The good thing is nothing but text can be sent, so no long download time. But, important things were lost in the transition. Grammar, capitalization and punctuation have been thrown to the wind. Words are abbreviated at the senders discretion, not following any known standards.

My concern is that my child, and other children, who are learning English Language Arts, will feel that conventional writing is obsolete, and toss what they have learned as unnecessary. How are these children going to write a well crafted resume to get a good job? What kind of knowledge (or lack thereof) are they going to pass on to their children?


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