ELA 3: Letter Perfect

There used to be whole books on how to write letters. Doesn't that sound exciting? Can't you just imagine curling up in front of the fire to read up on...ugh, even fantasizing about that is boring. Here's a nice Shmoopy video to get you through it.

3rd GradeLanguage Arts
Elementary and Middle School3rd Grade
LanguageEnglish Language

Transcript

00:24

…wait.

00:25

No one uses those anymore?

00:26

That explains why our grandma never answers our Christmas cards… [Pigeons flying around Grandma's house]

00:29

Anyway, a form that's actually still going strong is the art of writing letters!

00:34

Before telephones, and way before the Internet, if you wanted to get in touch with someone,

00:38

your options were pretty limited.

00:40

You could either meet them in person… [Man and woman meet in person and pigeon flys past]

00:41

…or write them a letter.

00:42

Yup. That was pretty much it.

00:44

Though if you were feeling lucky, you could yell out your window, and hope your friend

00:47

would hear you… [Man shouts out of window]

00:49

People often wrote their letters in longhand, being very careful about their handwriting.

00:53

Because if you receive a letter that just looks like chicken scratch, the only message

00:56

that gets through is…well… "a chicken scratched this."

00:59

Letters were even sent before the invention of envelopes. [Letter folds]

01:02

To seal a letter, you'd have to fold it, and seal it shut with some hot wax.

01:06

Yeah, licking envelopes seems like the height of technology now, huh?

01:09

There were also lots of conventions when it came to letter writing.

01:13

Entire books were written about the proper way to write letters, with instructions on [Person takes book of how to write letters]

01:16

how to strike just the right tone.

01:18

…so…probably not what you want to read when you're on vacation by the pool. [Man reads book poolside]

01:22

These books offered tips on how to write a letter of congratulations, or a letter of

01:26

apology, or a letter of condolences.

01:28

Because you don't want to take a congratulatory tone if someone just lost a pet.

01:32

You might want to put away the glitter, too…

01:34

Of course, letter writing wasn't a static art, and it adapted to technological changes.

01:39

The introduction of the typewriter made the hand-written letter super rare… [Man using a typewriter]

01:42

…and with the rise of Internet, a lot of would-be letters ended up as emails.

01:46

Which definitely did not make envelope manufacturers happy.

01:50

By now, the letter has become a bit of an endangered species.

01:53

According to the U.S. Post Office, the average household gets just one written letter every

01:59

two months.

02:00

Which we think makes them special! [Old man grabbing post from mailbox]

02:01

Think of how much time and effort someone put into that letter!

02:04

We'd sure appreciate finding one of these endangered species in our mailbox…

02:08

Definitely more than we'd appreciate finding an endangered tiger… [Tiger appears from mail box and old man falls over]