Latest research shows that children today show less interest in writing than they do in reading.
The report, Children’s and Young People’s Writing in 2014, has set out the findings for the fifth annual survey of more than 32,000 eight- to 18-year-olds. The findings were that children’s enjoyment of writing has started to increase slowly over the last three years. However, they still enjoy writing less than reading (49.3% compared with 54.4%). Meanwhile, the percentage of children and young people who write daily outside of school and classes has remained relatively stable over the last few years, with more than a quarter (27.2%) saying they write outside of class daily. This is a rather stark contrast, due to the dramatic increase in children reading outside of class, which has risen from 32.2% in 2013 to 41.4% in 2014.
The problem could be that children do not see a connection between writing skills and job prospects. The research (quite shockingly) showed that young people do not associate strong writing skills with employability. Just over half of the pupils (54.2%) agreed that writing skills would lead them into a better career, and one in eight (12.1%) denied any connection between the two.
The study also showed that writing enjoyment and frequency decreases as pupils get older. 57.4% of pupils in Key Stage 2 said they enjoy writing outside of school. This figure then drops to 47.1% in KS3, with a further drop in KS4, with just 38.8% showing an interest in writing outside of school.
From a student’s perspective it can be understood. Spending all day Monday to Friday – and further time at home on weekends – writing out essays and tests can reduce the desire to write outside of class.
However, it has been shown that pupils who enjoy writing are six times more likely to write above their expected age level than pupils who do not enjoy writing at all (46.3% versus 7.3%).
With writing becoming more popular in young children, it is hoped that in the near future, there will be a healthy balance in enjoyment between reading and writing, with each skill being just as important as the other.