Some children write stories because they want to, and some write stories because they have to. I definitely fell into the latter camp, writing mainly for the sole purpose of handing homework assignments in for school. I received a grade, and that was that.
In general, most parents know that learning to write is necessary and useful. But besides getting good grades at school or using it more functionally for work, why is writing, especially creative writing, so beneficial? Below are 7 reasons explored in further detail.
Reason #1: To Entertain
Children write stories to extend themselves as persons. They create imaginary worlds, arrange the order of events, and make their characters do their bidding. However, the motive to write in the first place is to primarily entertain. Few kids continue to write if they don’t have affirmation from an audience who are important to them. The immediate rewards of reading to one’s peers are thus both personal and social.
Reason #2: To Foster Artistic Expression
Similar to painting or making music, writing is also a form of artistic expression. By using their imagination and ordering these ideas and experiences into stories, poems or other types of writing, children are also exercising their self expression.
Reason #3: To Explore the Functions and Values of Writing
Writing helps children explore their own thinking and the thinking of the world. As children explore they often find that writing things down helps them to remember what they’ve discovered. It helps them think their ideas through to a greater extent and can spark questions and enjoyment from others.
Reason #4: To Stimulate Imagination
Stories reflect meaning and imagination. Imagination is the ability to bring into mind things that aren’t present to our senses. Imagination helps us look into other people’s points of views, see and feel the world as they do. Through stories, children seek meaning and can develop of their creative minds.
Reason #5: Clarify Thinking
In the process of attempting to get their ideas out on paper so they can be shared with others, children clarify thinking. When speaking, we can be less accurate because there is shared context, body language, and interest in conversation. It is much more challenging and rigorous to be precise when refining statements in writing.
Reason #6: To Search for Identity
Children ages 5–10 write stories when they are given a chance to write whatever they like. Stories usually mean some sort of conflict — good vs. bad with everything turning out OK in the end. When trying solutions for their characters, they may be trying solutions for themselves. Writing, therefore, helps them organize their knowledge and emotions, and can help with personal discovery and mastery.
Reason #7: To Learn to Read and Write
Writing stories is a means to teach children how to read and write but in a way that is more enjoyable to children. When children learn to write in a way that is interesting to them versus practicing in workbooks, it not only allows them to develop their imagination and creativity, but it helps them more strongly grasp spelling, grammar, and literary devices.
Now as a mother of two young daughters, I hope to nurture their love of reading and writing. Not only because it will help them be more effective communicators, but because it will also help them become more connected to the matters of the heart. As for me, well, you are witnessing me putting my own advice into practice.
Gail E. Tompkins, Language Arts, Vol. 59, №7, Writing (October 1982), pp. 718–721 (4 pages), Published By: National Council of Teachers of English