Web Wise: Pick Up a Pen

By Troy Corley

Web Wise ArchivesJanuary is a month for letter writing. You know, the old-fashioned kind of correspondence where you pick up a pen?

Universal Letter Writing Week, International Thank You Days, National Write to Congress Day and National Handwriting Day all fall in the first month of the new year. With email, instant messaging and blogs, the art of letter writing seems to have been lost. Yet, the same information highway that provides this nanosecond access to people also provides some great Web sites on how to write letters.

At you'll find strategies on how to get your child to pick up a pen. But if your kids aren't up for traditional journal writing or a computer-turn-off day, try something simple (and obligatory) like a thank-you note.

At, the queen of etiquette explains the whys and wherefores of a handwritten thank you to different age groups - even 3-year-olds! It might be easier to get kids interested if they choose some cool thank-you notes to print out. offers dozens of themes.

But what about actual letters? offers downloadable plans for teaching letter writing. has a parent-friendly guide to writing a friendly letter with a child-friendly graphic of what such a letter looks like. For kids who are glued to computers, has an interactive letter writing activity that guides kids through the process. has bright printables for both Letter Writing Week and Thank You Days. For a softer touch, try noted children's book illustrator Jan Brett's stationery at

Visit the Smithsonian's Postal Museum site to approach letter writing from a different angle. The site allows you to create your own stationery using images from the postal museum, decode bar codes on envelopes (which real letters come in!) and a host of other challenging games.

Happy letter writing!

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