Opinion

Second-graders study lost art of letter writing | Andy Hobbs

Second-graders at Lake Dolloff Elementary School sent this letter to Mirror editor Andy Hobbs. - Mirror staff photo
Second-graders at Lake Dolloff Elementary School sent this letter to Mirror editor Andy Hobbs.
— image credit: Mirror staff photo

Dear Lake Dolloff Elementary second-graders,

Mrs. Borland and Mrs. Phillips/Harmon sent me a letter about how your classes are studying the art of letter writing.

This is wonderful news. Letters are powerful tools. When we write letters, we attempt to connect with someone. Sometimes we write letters to people in our family, just to say “I love you.” We can write letters to thank someone for a gift, and we can write to a restaurant about good or bad service.

If you need to share something that’s important to you, or you need to persuade someone to do what you want, then a letter is the best way to accomplish that goal.

The Federal Way Mirror loves to print letters from the community. We print happy letters, sad letters, angry letters, serious letters and funny letters.

What is the best kind of letter? The one you take the time to write.

In today’s paper, you can see letters on topics ranging from politics to a future performing arts center that some people believe will make Federal Way a stronger city.

You don’t have to be a master wordsmith to write a powerful letter. One example that comes to mind is a letter written last summer by the mother of a teenage boy who drowned at Steel Lake. When it arrived, the letter was full of misspelled words and poor sentence structure, but also packed with an emotional call for safer lakes in Federal Way.

Here are a few pointers for writing a letter that people will want to read.

• Write your letter to one person. Even if millions of people read your letter, they will read it one person at a time.

• The pen is mightier than the keyboard. Most people type and email letters on a computer screen. Think about the last time you received a handwritten letter. Nothing beats that personal touch.

• Write with purpose. It’s not about the fancy words on the page. It’s about the message that those words create. You want the reader to notice the idea.

• When it comes to a letter’s length, remember this little saying that I just made up: Short and sweet is such a treat, but if your song is long, it better be strong.

• Why are you writing this letter? A writer’s intentions always shine through, even when those intentions are not specifically stated. Write with frustration and falsehoods, and your reader will pick up on it. Write with love and honesty, and you’ll always say the right thing.

 

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