Over the past few months there have been several national days and weeks to promote reading, such as World Book Day in March and International Children’s Book Day on the 2nd April. These have been great ways for schools to encourage their pupils to read for pleasure and share their views and opinions of the books they read.

These various initiatives aid the on-going battle against low literacy levels and I believe any opportunity for the promotion of a positive attitude towards reading and writing should be firmly grasped by primary and secondary schools alike. In February I wrote a blog for National Storytelling Week, which celebrated the art of storytelling in its varying forms, from the written word to oral tales. In honour of National Stationery Week, with its tagline of ‘Get Britain Writing’, I’d like to focus on the importance of expressing oneself through the medium of the written word.

“National Stationery Week is working with the National Handwriting Association, Greeting Card Association, Writing Instrument Association and the Post Office to promote the importance of writing by hand to children, teachers and schools.

This follows the Government’s decision to reintroduce handwriting and letter writing onto Secondary Schools’ curriculum next Autumn.

We want to remind parents how important handwriting is and will be to their children when they are older and in jobs, and in developing their creative and personal communication skills when they are young.

We want children to know that computers and handwriting are complementary, and that they need to be able to use both, if they are to get on in life.”

As reading can transport us to worlds previously undreamed of, writing can unlock the worlds that exist within our own minds and develop a wide range of skills besides. It is important to learn to express ourselves through language, as this is a constant everyday need throughout our lives. A combination of reading, writing and listening is essential for a well-rounded understanding and developed level of literacy. Some benefits include:

  • Emotional development
  • Expression of creativity and imagination
  • Self-evaluation
  • Widened vocabulary
  • Spelling
  • Grammar
  • Employability skills
  • Devising logical arguments
  • Expressing thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively
  • Critical thinking

Writing doesn’t need to take one form. There are so many ways your pupils can gain experience expressing themselves through the written word. It is important therefore to develop your pupils’ writing skills in a number of ways so that they may learn the appropriate styles for each form of writing. Much of the writing that young people do now is computer based such as emails and blogs, and often coursework is submitted typed. Writing with pen and paper, however, is equally important and should be encouraged through activities such as creative writing.