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A pen pal is a friend you make through correspondence. Educators encourage students to have pen pals as they promote literacy, reading and writing in a foreign language and learning about other countries.

This can be done via the Internet through e-mail and kids' chat rooms or via the U. Some pen pal relationships last only a short time, while others can go on for many years.

The age-old art of letter writing is still alive and well with pen pals for kids.

Whether it's online or through the mail, children of all ages can correspond with others through a variety of pen pal programs.

In the eras before the Internet, friendship letters, as they were often called, were written out long-hand and mailed through the post office.

If your pen pal lived on the other side of world, it would take weeks for the correspondence to go back and forth.

There are many pen pals for kids' organizations that offer safe, reliable and friendly Web sites.

Children, with parental approval of course, can e-mail, join chat rooms or list messages on forums regarding pen pals.

Friends exchanged letters, pictures and other miscellaneous items or "tuck-ins" including: One of the oldest pen pals for kids' clubs dates back to the 1930s.