Letters About Literature 1: What Is a Letter?

From the Library of
Congress in Washington, DC. Hello, I’m Anya Creightney
and this is the Letters About Literature video series. Today we are going to
discuss letter writing. In this video, we are going
to learn what a letter is, different types of letters,
and the parts of a letter. But, first of all, you may be
wondering: what is a letter? Well, a letter is a written,
typed, or printed message. Back in the day, letters
were usually mailed. Now, with the presence of online
platforms, letters can be sent by email or uploaded
to online applications. Although we may be
used to writing quick, informal messages, not
all messages are letters. Let’s see some examples
of other media that are not considered
letters: emails, text messages, social
media posts. To summarize, we can
conclude the items on the left are letters because
they are written materials that is usually sent by mail
and require a structure. While the items on the
right are not letters because they are sent instantly
and do not require a structure. Now, we are going to discuss
different types of letters. Formal letters are
those that are written in official language,
have a specific purpose, and are written for
professional communication. Informal letters,
on the other hand, are written in a friendly manner to someone you are
familiar with, and is used for personal
communication. For the Letters About Literature
program, you are going to be writing an
informal letter, one that is personal
and sincere. It should feel like a private
conversation with the author, rather than a book
report or a fan letter. Now that we know what a letter
is, and the different types of letters, why don’t we
learn how to write one? A letter is a type of
writing that has five parts. Let’s think of it as the parts
of your favorite superhero! Starting with the first part of
the letter, we have the heading. It is placed at the
top of the letter and it usually includes the
date and sometimes your address. The heading would be like
the head of your hero because it goes on the top! For the Letters About Literature
program, you don’t need to put your address
on the letter. Following the heading,
we have the greeting. The greeting is like saying hi, and it addresses the
person you are writing to. In our superheroes,
this would be the mouth where they communicate
with others! Going a little farther
down, we have the body. This is where you write the
main message of the letter, and where the most
information is found. After the body, we
have the closing. It’s an expression
that closes the letter and it is usually
followed by a comma. In your favorite superheroes, this would be the cape usually
hanging from their backs. Finally, we have the signature. This is where you
write your name. Your signature tells the
reader who the letter is from. In a superhero, this can
be found in their logo. Now we know what a letter is,
including all of its parts! Hope you found this short,
and instructive, video fun, and remember: if you
have any questions, feel free to ask your
teachers and librarians. You can also visit
www.read.gov/letters for more information. Thank you! This has been a presentation
of the Library of Congress. Visit us as LOC.GOV.

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