Opening up the world of writing to kids.

childrens-writing-SATsA while back I talked about how a trip to Cuba had really inspired me, and how travelling in general really motivates me to want to write more. Well, it looks like it’s not just adults who benefit from new experiences when it comes to improving their writing. Some new studies from England are showing that the writing skills of kids who go on memorable field trips at school improve dramatically.

Schools participated in a program called “Improving Writing Quality,” where children were taken on day trips to exciting venues like zoos, castles, caves, for example. Afterwards they would have sessions where they’d write about the experience. Then they tracked their writing skills over nine months, and guess what?  Dramatic improvements!

This is great news, and I’m excited to read it. I really hope that schools here in Canada will follow England’s lead on this one. Because I think one of the most important things to remember when it comes to education, is that not everything can be learned from a book. And even if it can be learned in a book, imagine how much more exciting the learning process is if you actually get to see and experience the things you’re reading about!

And the more experiences children have, the more of the world they’re exposed to, the more their imaginations will grow, they more their horizons will broaden. So if you really want to do your children or grandchildren a favour, share an adventure with them! Not only will you have the pleasure of spending quality time with them, but you’ll be helping to improve their futures. And who knows, you may be helping to create the next J.K. Rowling!

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Writers can be a crazy lot—our quirks and collections can rival anyone out there. Most often, our collections are focused around the tools of our trade: notebooks, pens, pencils, typewriters, etc. I myself have an impressive collection of notebooks and pens, but it’s not strictly ornamental. Despite how digital everything, including the writing process, has gotten I still find myself taking an ‘old school’ approach to my craft. While it may surprise many: I write everything first with a pen and paper.

I’m the first to admit I’m not the most technologically savvy of people, but it’s no techno-fear that’s led me to writing longhand. I really feel like there’s something fundamentally different about putting lead to paper as opposed to banging away on a keyboard—I just feel more creative doing so. And it turns out, there’s some science to back me up!

It turns out that children write better when they use a pen as opposed to a keyboard, and the simple act of connecting the form of each letter actively engages your brain in a way that isn’t seen in typing.

But even if there wasn’t the scientific evidence there, I doubt you could dissuade me from utilizing my trusty notebooks. The fact is there’s something special about how these simple tools have been used to create masterpieces. This author summed it up beautifully.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go get some fresh notebooks and a spankin’ new pen.