Saturday, February 11, 2012

Writing Letters

My three nieces all attend a Montessori school. One of their homework assignments has been to choose a person with whom to exchange letters. Each month they are given a topic around which to base a letter. Topics like: what city would you most like to visit; who would you most like to invite to dinner; what person who is no longer living would you most like to meet?

Last year I corresponded with Aubrey, who is now twelve. This year I am corresponding with Molly who is ten. Their letters have been touching, honest and funny. They both have a way of writing as if they were speaking to me. The personality of each one comes through loud and clear in their letters. They are learning to express themselves quite well.

I think that writing letters is a great skill for them to learn and practice. In this age of facebook and twitter, it's in danger of becoming a lost art. Also, they are learning to write in cursive, which makes me happy. I have heard that some schools have given up teaching cursive. That strikes me as very odd, and also shortsighted. In my family we have diaries written by ancestors and passed down through the family. They are written in cursive. What would happen if the next generation could not read them? What about historical research? What about reading the Declaration of Independence? What about writing thank you notes? Am I that hopelessly old fashioned? I guess I am not ready for an entirely digital world.

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