Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Bella. Bella Wonders, “How do you get a penpal?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Bella!

Have you ever written a letter? You’re more likely to send text messages and emails! Modern kids might think it’s odd to write a letter using pen and paper. Give it a try sometime! You might just find that this form of communication has its own benefits!

Letter writing has been a favorite pastime for hundreds of years. In fact, much of what we know about historical people and events comes from letters written long ago. People still read the letters of people like Frederick Douglass, Amelia Earhart, and Helen Keller. This helps us learn more about them.

In the past, sending a letter took a long time. First, you had to write it by hand. Then, it went by horse, ship, or train to its destination. That changed when regular postal service began. Delivery of letters became quicker and more reliable.

Many decades ago, teachers encouraged students to find “pen pals” around the country or even around the world. It was a great way for students to practice their writing skills. They also learned about other people, countries, and cultures. Some teachers still do this today!

Sometimes students look for pen pals with similar interests or hobbies. Others seek students from particular countries or cultures they were interested in. For example, a student learning French might look for a pen pal in France! Then, they can practice their new language along with the other benefits of having a pen pal.

Have you ever moved to a new school? Pen pals are also a way for kids to stay in touch after a move. Sometimes, pen pal relationships last only a few weeks. But often, they last for years and years.

Today, pen pals are still popular. However, the Internet has changed how many people communicate with their pen pals. Instead of writing letters by hand and mailing them, many pen pals use email.

Pen pals who email don’t have to wait days or weeks for a reply. They might hear back from each other in just minutes! Pen pals who communicate via email even have a special name. Some people call them key pals!

Communicating with a pen pal through email can also be cheaper. You save the cost of paper and postage. Many people still prefer to send handwritten letters to their pen pals, though.

Handwritten letters often have a personal touch to them. Many people feel that email just isn’t quite the same. They feel special knowing that someone took the time to sit down and write a letter.

Have you ever gotten a gift in the mail? Receiving a letter from a pen pal is kind of like that! In fact, some pen pals include small objects in their letters.This might include things like newspaper articles, postcards, and stickers. These little extras can make opening an envelope that much more fun!

It’s also nice to save handwritten letters and re-read them months or years down the road. Re-reading saved emails just doesn’t have the same feeling. How would you like to have a pen pal? Would you write letters to a family member? How about an old friend? A pen pal can live on the other side of the world or just down the street.

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

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