We have today published research showing that children who enjoy writing and who write creatively outside school do significantly better in the classroom.
However, the research also shows that far too many children are missing out on these benefits, as half of pupils say they don’t enjoy writing outside school. The research has been launched to mark the very first National Writing Day, a campaign coordinated by charity First Story to give children across the UK the opportunities and ideas to give writing a go and experience its benefits.
The research report, Writing for Enjoyment and its Link to Wider Reading, also found that all children – regardless of whether they enjoy writing or not – face the same barriers to writing outside school: around half of pupils can’t decide what to write and a third struggle with spelling and grammar.
The report stresses that helping children develop a love of writing is important for their academic success. Children who enjoy writing outside school are seven times more likely to write above the expected level for their age compared with children who don’t enjoy writing (23.2% vs 3.2%); and children who write creatively outside school are twice as likely to write above the expected level for their age compared with children who don’t write creatively outside school (19.3% vs 7.9%).
National Writing Day will play a crucial role in helping children discover that creative writing can be fun and can also boost their attainment, confidence, aspiration and imagination. National Writing Day is coordinated by First Story, a literacy charity who aims to change young lives through writing, and is supported by 35 partners, including the National Literacy Trust.
Our research consistently finds that children who enjoy writing do much better at school, but it also shows that far too many pupils still don’t enjoy writing and this could be holding them back from reaching their full potential. For the past 20 years, we’ve seen a real focus on reading for enjoyment initiatives across the UK, which have reaped fantastic benefits for children. It’s now time to give writing for enjoyment the focus it deserves, which is why we’re so thrilled to be supporting the UK’s first National Writing Day. By giving children and adults new opportunities to get writing, we will show that writing is for everyone!”Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust
There's been a big focus on reading as an aid to literacy, and there are no end of events, festivals and initiatives promoting it. It's fantastic to have something that actively encourages writing. I've been writing since I was eight and it's been a huge part of my life. I’ve written for TV, film and radio as well as books for adults, children and teenagers. I hope National Writing Day will inspire children and young adults to give writing a go and unleash their imaginations.Charlie Higson, Comedian and best-selling author