Can Reading Help Your Child's Creative Writing Skills?

Why are good writers also strong readers, whilst avid readers may not always be strong writers?

Reading & Creative Writing are Different Skills

Reading certainly helps fuel children’s imagination and exposure to ambitious vocabulary, sentence structure and understanding of punctuation, but it’s a different skill to writing.

Writing Involves:

  • Physical muscle strength, involving fine-motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
  • Cognitively demanding processes which often feel effortful, even for those who love to write! The planning stage of story writing is particularly effortful as it requires your child to first conceive of an idea before verbalising it to an audience.

Like all skills, creative writing needs regular practise to order to see improvements. Young writers can develop their writing skills by immersing themselves in the creative process, asking themselves questions such as:

  • What exciting vocabulary can I use?
  • How can I engage the reader with suspense?
  • How can I make sure I don’t carried away with dialogue in my story writing?
  • Do I believe in my ideas and how best to use them?
  • How can I write a surprising story ending?

When children start to ask themselves reflective questions, they are on the road to becoming self-aware, skilled writers who are ready to explore their creative voice with confidence.

So, although reading won’t necessarily make your child a superb creative writer, it can certainly help!!

4 ways book worming can inspire your child’s creative writing...

1.     Generating Ideas

Reading books we enjoy can inspire ideas for story writing. Taking an idea from a book we’ve read and reimagining it in our own story writing can be really fun for children. Children aren’t afraid to run with a great idea and for added fun try asking your child how they can improve their amazing ‘borrowed’ idea, jazz it up and make it their own? This is great for a confidence boost and their learning in general.

2.    Genre Awareness

Reading books of different genres can benefit children’s general knowledge and interest in the world around them. Watch carefully for what your child is naturally interested in with a view to selecting some non-fiction books on the topic(s). Even better if your child wants to choose the book themselves. A government study by The Department of Education ‘Research Evidence on Reading for Pleasure’ 2012 cited:

‘An important factor in developing reading for pleasure is choice; choice and interest are highly related (Schraw et al, 1998; Clark and Phythian[1]Sence, 2008) 

Non-fiction material can help your child’s grasp of text organisation and can bolster their skills in handling ‘tricky’ subject specific words.

Narrative on the other hand can inspire your child’s imagination and feed into their appreciation for story structure.

 3. Story Character Development

Reading is a relaxing, feel-good activity which helps your child embrace the emotional benefits of being in their own company. Reading fiction that they chose will help your child understand different types of characters and will increase their empathy for others. 

Character knowledge will encourage your child’s skills for creating compelling story characters who aren’t just one-dimensional.

4. Fostering Individual Voice

Children are often rewarded for coming up with original ideas for their story writing, especially in the 11Plus English Exam. Reading books from different authors can help your child shape their own storytelling voice by sharpening their mind and giving them ideas. 

Making time for reading will help your child flourish and will likely give them a love for reading as an adult too. That’s a wonderful thing.

Posted on May 12th 2022

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