The lost art of letter-writing is proving hard to find

One in five UK children aged between seven and fourteen has never received a handwritten letter.

News has emerged that one in five UK children aged between seven and fourteen have never received a handwritten letter, and one in ten have never handwritten a letter themselves.

The research, commissioned by World Vision, has revealed that rather than putting pen to paper, children are increasingly using social networking sites, text messaging and email to build and maintain relationships.

The impact of modern technology on children is far-reaching, with many positive effects. But what does it mean for the lost art of letter-writing, and what are the broader implications for literacy and learning?

Sue Palmer, a child education expert, is quoted in the Guardian, saying, "If children do not write or receive letters, they miss out on key developmental benefits. Handwritten letters are much more personal than electronic communication.

"By going to the trouble of physically committing words to paper, the writer shows their investment of time and effort in a relationship...Painstakingly maneuvering the pencil across the page, thinking of the best words to convey a message, struggling with spelling and punctuation. It is, however, an effort worth making, because it's only through practice that we become truly literate...If we care about real relationships, we should invest in real communication, not just the quick fix of a greetings card, text or email."

The UK is increasingly technological and online; sometimes it's easy to forget that learning, be it social, emotional or educational, is all about relationships. For children, it's about how they relate to the concept of learning, how they relate to their teachers, and how they relate to their peers. These all impact the learning experience.

At MakeBelieve Arts, we believe in the power of real communication, of storytelling, and discovering the voices of creativity in all children. An essential part of fostering the development of literacy in children is encouraging creative expression - be it theatre, music, dance or writing. We believe that what starts with a pen and piece of paper can end with real relationships and lifelong learning.