Keeping a diary boosts children's writing skills and enjoyment

Dec 2016
Diary writing boosts children's writing skills
Children who keep a diary are almost twice as likely to write above the expected level for their age.

The National Literacy Trust is working with award-winning children's author Jacqueline Wilson on their latest campaign to get more children writing.

Their 2015 report, Children and Young People's Diary Writing, found that diary writing has a positive impact on children's attainment, as well as boosting their motivation to write.

The report, based on data collected from over 3,000 eight to 11-year-olds, showed that pupils who keep a diary are almost twice as likely to write above the expected level for their age compared with children who do not (27.1% vs 15.5%).

A big factor in the popularity of diary keeping is how it allows children the freedom to choose what they want to write about, with 82% of girls and 76% of boys explaining how writing is more fun when they can choose the subject.

Diary writing has long been part of literature and society. Historical diaries like Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl, give the reader a great insight into the events of the past, whilst fictional diaries like Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid are purely for entertainment value.

Jacqueline Wilson has blazed the trail of diary writing, including diary entries in her children's fiction series Tracy Beaker. Extremely popular amongst young girls, her fictions have helped ignite a love of reading and writing in many young people.

She said: "I'm particularly fond of using a fictional diary method when I write my books. It helps make the story more immediate and easy to read. I always advise would-be writers to keep a daily diary as it gets you into a regular writing habit."

In keeping a diary a young person gets into a regular writing habit and will become a more fluent and confident writer. Their communication skills will also improve as they learn how to process their thoughts and feelings and express them in a clear and concise manner.

With Christmas coming up, why not gift a diary to your son, daughter, grandson, or granddaughter and foster their love of writing. There are several diaries on the Kumon Recommended Reading List to help serve as inspiration to get them started on their own diary or simply for them to read and enjoy.

For more results from the study, visit the National Literacy Trust's website.