Writing is an essential skill can benefit students for the rest of their lives. Introducing and practicing writing with engaging activities in elementary school, can foster confidence and a lifelong love of writing. Immediately, writing skills are important for elementary students' continued learning in all academic areas, communication and self-expression, according to the Institute of Education Sciences.
In addition to improving penmanship, writing exercises in elementary school support development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Students also learn the writing process, from outline to finished product, which translates into other aspects of life and learning. For example, students can use planning and organizing, research and peer review to learn topics in mathematics and science, make dinner or build a doghouse. Writing about the world is also important for vocabulary and reading development.
According to The College Board, creative and reflective writing exercises build confidence and appreciation for writing. Through journals and personal story writing, children can discover their identities and work through real-life problems. A report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services points out that when parents separate or children must deal with bullies, loss of a pet or other types of stress, writing can provide a therapeutic outlet to help them cope.
Writing helps children connect to the world around them, both on and off the page. Since writing requires the student to consider audience and purpose, for example, practice can help the student apply the same considerations to verbal communication. The writing process, complete with peer review and feedback, allows students to learn from each other. Creating these environments at a young age teaches students to both accept and deliver constructive criticism. Further, collaborative writing projects, such as creating a class newspaper, enables students to achieve writing goals together.
As children progress through their school years, they will need to be both literate and computer-literate to succeed. While the two skills complement each other, some computer tools, such as spelling and grammar checks, can inhibit developing writing skills. By writing with a keyboard, for example, students are not practicing handwriting. It is also important for students to know that these tools should supplement their own knowledge, not replace it, because even computers make mistakes.
- Institute of Education Sciences: Teaching Elementary Students to Be Effective Writers
- Education.com: Children Learn Print Concepts, Words, Phonemic Awareness, and Some Letter Names and Sounds as They Write
- The College Board: The Neglected “R”
- Scholastic: Adventures in Writing
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: The Effects of Childhood Stress on Health Across the Lifespan
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