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Letter Writing Topic Guide

Letters are a form of communication that have been used ever since humans developed written language. Before modern technology allowed us to communicate almost instantly with someone anywhere in the world, they were used to correspond with people who were far away.

Written letters are used for many purposes. They can be very formal, such as a letter of complaint or a letter applying for a job. Informal letters are sent between friends or family members and can be more chatty.

Teach your children about letter writing using our handy topic guide!

Choose a section:
Teaching Ideas | Resources | Facts | Videos | Books | Links

Teaching Ideas

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Resources

The Letter Writing Pack

Letter Writing Facts

  • The earliest known envelopes, to protect the contents of a letter, were made by the Ancient Babylonians. They wrote their messages on clay, not paper, so the message was coated in another layer of clay!
  • Letters used to be folded and sealed with a wax seal instead of using an envelope.
  • The first pre-paid postal service, using stamps, was introduced in the United Kingdom in May 1840.
  • Most letters begin with “Dear …”, but if you know the recipient well, you can use a less formal greeting.
  • A pen pal is someone who you exchange letters with, usually to learn more about them.

Videos

Dear Mother Goose

Nursery Rhyme characters write to Mother Goose for advice.

Running time: 11:16

How to write a formal letter in English

This video gives a good overview of writing a formal letter.

Running time: 4:05

Journey of a Letter

Find out how a letter gets from the writer to the recipient.

Running time: 6:20

Books

The Jolly Postman

Younger children love opening and reading other people’s letters in this classic book.

Dear Teacher

Michael is worried about going to school, so he writes to his teacher explaining why he can’t go.

Click, Clack, Moo - Cows That Type

Farmer Brown has a problem. His cows like to type. Soon they start sending him notes.

Dear Mr. Blueberry

Emily writes to her teacher about the blue whale living in her pond.

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