The National Literacy Trust’s (NLT) third annual literacy survey of nearly 35,000 eight to 16-year-olds found that boys are twice as likely than girls to say they don’t enjoy writing at all.
Almost a third of boys said they never – or rarely – wrote anything outside school, while one in five boys admitted that they “would be embarrassed if friends saw me write”.
Meanwhile, more girls than boys said that “writing is cool” – 35 per cent of girls as opposed to nearly 27 per cent of boys.
Three-quarters of all youngsters said that writing was more fun when they were able to choose their own topic. Not only that, the Children and Young People’s Writing in 2012 report found a direct link between children’s enjoyment of writing and the results they achieve at school.
Of those young people who did not enjoy writing at all, more than half were writing below the expected level and two-fifths at the expected level.
Only seven per cent of youngsters who did not like writing were performing above the level expected for their age.
The survey also revealed that a growing number of young people are using “text speak” in their school work. Nearly one in six boys and one in eight girls said they used texting abbreviations in class.
Commenting on the report’s findings, Julie Gibbings, senior programme manager at the NLT, urged teachers and parents to encourage boys to enjoy writing.
She said: “Reading and writing go hand-in-hand and it is through writing that children learn to formulate thoughts and improve their creativity and thinking skills.
“Our research shows that we must focus on increasing boys’ enjoyment of writing. It’s down to teachers as well as parents to nurture a love of writing in boys and help to develop positive attitudes towards it early on in their education.”
Read the NLT’s report at www.literacytrust.org.uk/assets/0001/9245/Young_people_s_writing_2012.pdf