In a recent survey, the National Literacy Trust looked at the relationship between attitudes towards reading and writing and mental wellbeing amongst children.
The results suggest children who have a more positive experience with regards to reading and writing are more likely to feel better about their abilities and indeed themselves. A higher self-esteem and self-belief, with a positive attitude in general, translates to a higher level of mental wellbeing.
Children who enjoy reading and writing and who have a positive attitude towards them, are more likely to have higher mental wellbeing scores. This is according to the research, which interviewed around 49K 8-18-year-olds in the UK.
Mental wellbeing is positively affected by the belief that writing is a valuable skill.
It is also affected by an individual having the self-belief that they can succeed in both reading and writing. Indeed, children with higher literacy scores and engagement were more likely to score higher in terms of mental wellbeing.
The more children enjoy reading and writing, the more likely they are to partake in these activities.
It seems also, that those who enjoy these activities and feel they are good at them, tend to report higher levels of satisfaction in life in general. This includes a demonstration of better coping skills and higher self-belief.
With half of the reported mental health problems in adults manifesting before the age of 14, children’s mental wellbeing is a concern and one the government has pledged to make a priority.
As part of this research project, the National Literacy Trust joined forces with children’s mental health charity, Place2Be. Both parents and teachers can get access to wellbeing-themed resources, including book lists and tips to help children gain a healthy and happy outlook on life.
Some time ago, I wrote about how having a positive attitude can impact on your children. I’ve also shared reviews of some wonderful books, including ‘Have you filled a bucket today?’ and ‘Wonder’. Being positive is not something that comes easily to any of us. In fact, genetically speaking, we are designed to be negative, as this is something that would have helped us survive in the very early days of our existence. We see children now with a lot of pressure being put upon them, by both parents and schools. There is a constant need to achieve.
Through my creative writing club, Storymakers, I see a lot of children who are reluctant to write. It seems many feel afraid they might get it wrong and just don’t seem to have the confidence to put pen to paper. My aim is to offer a space where children can feel safe to write and perhaps overcome the barrier that prevents them from translating those awesome imaginations into words.
Building confidence in writing is one of the most important things to me. Ability will follow, because the more children enjoy writing, the more they are likely to do it and therefore, the better at it they will get.
From what this latest research suggests, It is even more important that children feel good about themselves and enjoy reading and writing, as this translates to other areas of their lives.