Young children who write letters back and forth to extended family members improve their literacy skills, a University of Texas at Arlington study finds. Kathryn Pole, an assistant professor in the UTA College of Education's Department of Curriculum and Instruction, followed 22 kindergarten students at a public school for one school year. She tracked their progress when they wrote and exchanged letters with relatives such as a grandparent, aunt or other extended family member. Pole said her study demonstrates that when children have an audience and purpose for writing their writing improves, their ability and motivation to spell and write legibly improves and that family letter writing helps develop stronger family bonds. The study, called "Why Downt You Riyt Back to Me?" appears in The Reading Teacher, a journal of the International Literacy Association.