Guest post by Riahn Jaxyn
Written communication has become more important than ever. In a world that’s run by e-mail, text messaging, and social media, the ability to express yourself in writing clearly and effectively is crucial to building relationships. Writing is a skill that must be consistently sharpened — and, as much as possible, developed at an early age.
Writing Proficiency Has Declined in Students
Writing is one of the most basic competencies taught in early education, but the common approach has yielded substandard results thus far. According to the U.S. Department of Education, most students in America struggle to meet grade-level writing standards. Only less than a third are proficient at writing, based on findings by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Too many students are simply not writing very well, and this underdeveloped — or undeveloped — skill could potentially haunt their careers later on.
One of the reasons behind the decline in writing proficiency among students is the education system itself. According to researchers, there’s a lot more focus on improving the ability to read than to write in the US. This could be because it’s easier to assess a child’s progress at reading, whereas writing is more subjective.
This problem has been going on for a while, and the students of yesteryear are now the teachers of today. Unfortunately, many of them don’t possess the necessary writing skills to pass on to future generations. Instead, their approach to teaching writing tends to be very prescriptive. Students are taught to abide by spelling, grammar, and syntax rules instead of how to communicate their ideas, which is the main purpose of writing.
Because schools are evaluating students’ writing skills based on how technically correct their sentences are, kids learn to depend on tech-powered tools. Young people are digitally savvy and have no problem navigating various writing tools. In the process, however, they get spoon-fed information and miss out on the chance to learn from their mistakes.
Writing: An In-Demand Skill of the Future
Writing is not only an important life skill but also a valuable professional skill. For instance, the internet is home to billions of web pages all with their own text, while 2020 saw some 2.2 million books published worldwide. You can be an author, a reporter, or even become a ghostwriter.
This last option has become a viable career decision for many experienced wordsmiths, as companies across the globe often have more ideas than time to craft them into helpful content. Writers can choose from ghostwriting fiction and non-fiction books, or even blogs and SEO writing, which have become in-demand for businesses with a digital presence.
Writing is even considered essential among tech workers because it allows them to communicate technical jargon into a language other people will understand. This demonstrates that anyone proficient in writing would be considered a valuable worker. So if parents and teachers want children to succeed in the long run, then helping kids hone their writing skills early is definitely a good step to take.
Related Reading: Guide to Finding the Best Writing Tutor
What Can Parents and Teachers Do?
It takes a village to raise children who are proficient in writing, but there are always simple places to start. Children must be taught that learning to write well is an important skill in life, rather than something they have to get through in school.
Researchers state that writing instructions during early education should promote the main purpose of the skill: to communicate. Instead of focusing on the ABCs and the many rules of writing, teachers should provide opportunities to use writing as a way to express ideas and thoughts clearly. Ask students to write to an audience, write about something they’re interested in, or even write something they want to share.
This is easy enough to replicate at home. As a parent, you can encourage your child to participate in writing games, send out letters to family and friends, or scribble in a journal. The key to becoming proficient at writing — and becoming a master communicator — is to continue doing it. By thinking of fun and creative ways to write, children just might develop a fondness for it.
While there is always a chance to improve these skills no matter your age, educators believe it’s best to start building these up early on during one’s developmental stages, when there is more space for trial and error. Thankfully, there are lots of online resources and tools available for young students to take in their own time. You can also take help from a Writing tutor who can coach you in the essential nuances of strong and effective writing, and help you build it as a habit early on.
This Guest post is contributed by Riahn Jaxyn