Significant decline in children writing outside the classroom

New research published by the National Literacy Trust shows a significant drop in the number of young people writing outside the classroom.

The findings are based on a survey of over 32,000 children and young people aged eight to 18 and found that daily writing levels decreasing from 27.2 per cent in 2014 to 20.7 per cent in 2015, with 44.8 per cent of respondents saying they enjoy writing either very much or quite a lot in 2015, compared to 49.3 per cent in 2014.

The National Literacy Trust also found a significant gender gap, with 51.9 per cent of girls enjoying writing, compared to 36.8 per cent of boys. Additionally, boys were found to be twice as likely to say they don’t enjoy writing at all.

This decrease in writing frequency outside school is in stark contrast to the large increase in in daily reading frequency, which has improved from 29.1 per cent in 2010 to 43 per cent in 2015.

In response, the National Literacy Trust is calling for ‘a new focus on writing for enjoyment from both government and the education sector’, with the hope of replicating the prioritisation of reading for enjoyment, which director Jonathan Douglas believes has ‘reaped huge rewards’.

Douglas said: “National Literacy Trust research indicates an undeniable correlation between writing enjoyment and frequency, and attainment. Whilst the new curriculum focus on spelling and grammar and phonics is important, it must not come at the expense of encouraging writing for enjoyment by teaching the writing process and encouraging children to write for purpose and audience. We must seek to create a culture or community of writers within schools.”

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