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DEAR ABBY: Thank you for insisting that a written thank-you note for a gift is still absolutely imperative. I was appalled when a reader suggested that a "warm hug and a verbal thank-you at the next chance meeting at church or a social function should be sufficient."

A child should be taught at a very early age to write a thank-you note. Writing improves finger coordination, penmanship and spelling, and helps to create a bond between the child and the giver.

In today's world of electronic communication -- the telephone and fax -- it is still necessary to record thoughts, events and instructions in writing. If a "tape" is erased, the message is lost forever. Therefore it is vital that we learn how to communicate in writing. And it all begins when a child is taught to write a thank-you note.

At 86, I am still writing. -- M.S.P., SANTA ANA, CALIF.

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