Top 5 Reasons Writing is Important for Kids
1. Writing builds confidence in a child’s sense of herself and her voice.
2. Writing helps kids create and strengthen their identities.
3. Writing fosters a child’s emotional growth and gives him coping skills for dealing with life’s many highs and lows.
4. Writing helps kids develop critical thinking skills - it helps them understand and communicate complicated ideas.
5. Writing leads to guaranteed improvement in academic achievement.
As humans, we all want to belong and feel connected - it is in our very nature as social beings. We want to be able to share our stories meaningfully and to hear other people’s stories in a way that resonates with our own lives.
Language is the tool that brings us together. Giving our children the gift of expression at a young age sets them on a path of purpose, intention and engagement. Writing will give your child a sense of herself as a person in the world and will give her a voice that she will be proud to share with the world. A study done by the U.S. Department of Education shows that writing is one of the best ways to not only improve your child’s academic progress in school, but to also improve your child’s self-expression and self-reliance. Two other studies show that writing improves children’s academic progress by helping them learn and retain new material better and - when done frequently both at home and at school - by building their confidence in their writing and communication abilities.
Writing will also bring you closer to your child because it will give you access to his wonderfully complex inner life. The human desire to connect through language begins with a baby’s first smile. It is never too early to start your child down the path of a writer’s life. By engaging in the act of writing, we are engaging in the valuing of life, valuing one another, and valuing the precious moments we share.
Writing opens up an enormous world of possibilities for people of all ages and occupations. No matter the age, people are fascinated, consumed, enchanted and delighted by the power of the written word. Children are especially drawn to the incredible power of stories and words, and they are already so naturally living a writer’s life - one of observation, wonder, memory and imagination. A life where, by simply writing something down, you can make it happen.
This is a sentiment that we simply must encourage, nurture and allow to take root in our children so that it will become a lifelong conviction. By having access to the written word, your child grows up with a sense that he has and will always have something to say that could change people’s minds. There is great power in being able to say exactly what you mean and seeing that people understand and are engaged by your words and ideas.
Pam Allyn is the author of the upcoming book "Your Child’s Writing Life," which will debut in August 2011. she is also the executive director and founder of LitWorld, a global organization advocating for children’s rights as readers, writers and learners.
All statements and opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors, and not of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation or NBC News.