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To the letter

Students improve reading, writing skills by mail

Postal worker takes letter from child at retail counter
Eureka, IL, Retail Associate Richard Craft accepts a child’s letter through the local library’s summer reading program.

An educational publisher, an Illinois library and a local Post Office came together this summer to promote literacy through letter writing.

The Eureka Public Library’s summer reading program encouraged young readers to become writers by sending letters of encouragement to teachers, grandparents, veterans, nursing home residents or long-distance friends.

The kids were encouraged to use templates provided by Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher of children’s books, which works with the Postal Service to promote letter writing for schoolchildren.

The Eureka effort led to an increase of 380 new readers, encouraged letter exchanges and taught children critical language skills during a challenging summer.

“They were stuck at home and we had to come up with ways to engage them. I wrote notes for each reader. We mailed activity sheets and craft items. Mailing things was easy for us,” said Angela Roberts, the library’s youth services manager.

The Eureka Post Office, part of Great Lakes Area’s Central Illinois District, participated in the program by teaching the youngsters how to properly address an envelope, buy and use stamps, and mail cards and letters.

“Using the Post Office at a young age gives children a sense of how we help connect people,” said Eureka Postmaster Brian Shirey.

Added Retail Associate Richard Craft: “It’s great that children learn how to communicate with others with just a stamp. It can take you pretty far across our country.”

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