If writing is simply a chore we won't enjoy doing it. It is vital that we give children the experiences to write for the sheer pleasure of it. The research by the National Literacy Trust ( June 2023 ) shows that only 1 in 3 children say they enjoy writing in their free time.
This is so sad particularly in light of earlier research by the National Literacy Trust which found that there is a clear link between writing for enjoyment and writing attainment, with children who enjoy writing 'very much' seven times more likely to write above the expected level.
So we need to nurture and encourage writing for pleasure. We have to give experiences that are fulfilling and inspiring. If we simply allow children to believe that writing is a series of rules with no enjoyment whatsoever then that will be the legacy. They will not write for pleasure. They will fear it.
Writing for enjoyment allows children to discover themselves. How they feel. It allows them to express themselves. It gives them the opportunity to find their own style.
Writing for pleasure also gives children the opportunity to play with the ideas and rules that they have been learning about.
We have to give them the skills to write from their own ideas. There have to be ribbons alongside the rules.
We need to ask ourselves why children are not enjoying writing. As teachers we must promote it and encourage it otherwise we are at risk of creating a generation of people who feel that writing is not for them.
'Writing for enjoyment needs to be encouraged, protected and nurtured as a priority. The reduced scope for creative writing in the curriculum may be affecting children's motivation and enjoyment for writing, which can in turn, affect their confidence and literacy skills. We need to prioritise writing for enjoyment and recognise its importance in helping children express their thoughts and feelings as they make sense of the world around them.'
Jonathan Douglas CBE Chief Executive at the National Literacy Trust