Love of letters

This might come as a shock to your kids, but before we started logging off with"G2G” and"CU L8R,” people used actual words to close correspondence. With Universal Letter-Writing Week approaching Jan. 8-14, now’s your chance to tear your tweens away from the computer and teach them the old-fashioned practice of putting pencil to paper. To inspire creativity—and help your kids do some good—here’s letter writing, by the numbers…

212,000,000,000 Number of pieces of mail the United States Postal Service delivers each year.

44 Percent of the world’s mail volume that is handled by the United States Postal Service—more than any other nation.

39 Amount in cents it costs to send a letter in the United States.

1984 Year that Beverly Cleary was awarded the Newbery Medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw, the book about every elementary schooler’s favorite letter writer, 12-year-old Leigh Botts.

14 Percent of the nation's population that moves every year, generating 45 million address changes.

160,000 Number of letters the Letters From Home Program has sent to members of the armed forces overseas since 2003. If you’re interested in brightening a soldier’s day, visit

535 Number of congressmen who are waiting to hear what your child has to say. To find addresses for your representatives, visit and

5 Number of parts to a friendly letter—heading, greeting, body, closing and signature. 

0 Number of letters to the editor Chicago Parent ran in this month’s issue. Our inbox is crying for your attention. Send your snail mail to 141 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, IL 60302.

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