Creative writing is not just about language practice, it supports literacy, helps children develop their reading skills and most importantly, it is fun.
I am an avid reader and writer so you won’t hear any arguments from me about how important creative writing is. Children have the most vivid and active imaginations and I believe they need the skills to harness their thoughts so they can turn them into the most amazing stories.
Having heard and been inspired by the winning entries at this years’ 500 Words story competition run by BBC Radio 2, it’s clear many children do have this ability and we should keep encouraging that.
Too often, the focus in schools is on the grammar and language rather than letting the imagination run wild and getting creative with a story. Of course, grammar is important, but we don’t want to dampen down our children’s enthusiasm for what the true essence of a story really is. When they write, they have the power to do or be the impossible and the possibilities are endless.
A study by Sydney University followed a group of children from deprived backgrounds who were invited to attend a series of creative writing workshops at the Sydney Story Factory. Researchers found a significant improvement in writing quality, increased engagement with writing, improved planning, organisation and development of ideas, as well as confidence and teamwork.
Creative writing can help develop many skills.
- Planning and organisation of thoughts – being able to focus on specific ideas and use the language required to write these down.
- Accuracy, precision and expression using vocabulary – which may require influencing others through written persuasion.
- Social skills and empathy – an awareness of your surroundings and being able to look at things from all sides and perspectives, not just taking everything at face value.
- Stimulating the imagination by looking at the world in a different way.
- Confidence boost – allowing children to develop a ‘voice’ through their writing.
Developing cognitive growth, creative writing gives children the ability to not only come up with ideas, but to solve problems, organise their thoughts and use appropriate language to communicate their arguments. This means it can help them across many subjects, making it an important part of the curriculum.
Creative writing not only supports literacy, it provides a safe and comfortable form of self-expression and gives children the skills to communicate clearly throughout their lives.