New research reveals that kids who keep a diary do much better than their peers and are almost twice as likely to write above the expected level for their age
The National Literacy Trust‘s report, Children and Young People’s Diary Writing in 2015, found that writing a diary can boost children’s attainment, and is calling for parents to ‘give children the gift of a diary this Christmas’ in its new campaign, with backing from award-winning children’s author Jacqueline Wilson.
Writing attainment data was available for 3,311 pupils aged 8-11, and of those who wrote in a diary at least once a month, 5.5% wrote below the expected level; 67.4% wrote at the expected level and 27.1% wrote above the expected level. In comparison, those who said that they didn’t keep a diary, 9.4% wrote below the expected level for their age; 75.1% wrote at the expected level, and 15.5% wrote above.
The report also found diary writing to be more popular with girls, and more broadly with younger children of both genders. Three times as many girls keep a diary compared to boys (29.5% compared to 10.3%), while twice as many pupils in their final years of primary school write a diary compared to pupils in their last years of secondary school (29.4% of pupils aged 8-11 years vs 11.9% of pupils aged 14-16). 82% of girls and 76% of boys also admitted that if they can choose the topic to write about, writing is more fun for them.
Children’s author Wilson and the National Literacy Trust is calling on families and anyone buying a gift for a child or young person this Christmas to think about buying a diary and encourage children to get writing.
“I still have diaries I wrote as a teenager,” says Wilson. “I wince at times when I read them, but they bring back those long-ago days so vividly and help me remember what it’s like to be young. I always advise would-be writers to keep a daily diary as it gets you into a regular writing habit. It’s also a brilliant way of expressing yourself and confiding special secrets.”
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