When we think about the skills most important to develop in young children, a love of reading and writing are always at the forefront. A child with a book or pencil in her hands is a child with a bright future in front of her.
Reading and writing may be looked at as fundamental skills within the classroom, but their use remains essential long after one’s formal education comes to an end. Living in the digital age has made literacy even more important, as communicating professionally via writing is an important (and assumed!) skill in most workplaces.
At a time when professionals spend one third of their time reading and writing emails, written communication is more important than ever before for success in academics and beyond. The earlier in life writing skills are developed, the stronger these skills will be in the long run, highlighting the importance of writing in elementary school.
Writing Skills and Long Term Academic Success
While there are countless benefits to having strong writing skills, the benefit of teaching students these skills from an early age are mostly on academic success across the curriculum. Study after study suggests that students who are able to master writing skills early on struggle less in overall literacy and communicating.
Increased writing instruction that focuses not merely on penmanship, but on writing strategies, planning, and organization, can benefit students for the rest of their lives. Even prior to this, increased confidence with writing skills can help students to be more effective in communicating their understanding of core curriculum and learning standards, allowing students to better demonstrate their knowledge across the curriculum and to express their concerns and questions in a way to help further their personal understanding. Nadine Rice addresses these issues in her article, “Meeting the Reading Challenges of Science Textbooks in the Primary Grades,” where the relationship between student communication skills and course material is explored.
Students who learn to write a complete sentence at a young age are more likely to apply that knowledge and develop that skill into writing complete paragraphs as they age. Mastering writing at an early age is associated with higher outcomes on standardized testing and overall performance in school, as is outlined by the Institute of Educational Sciences 2012 report by the U.S. Department of Education, titled “Teaching Elementary School Students to be Effective Writers.” This includes starting writing instruction as early as Kindergarten.
Aside from simply helping students to write their letters and learn their name, students at this earliest level of Elementary education ought to be learning how to plan their writing by picking ideas, organizing their notes into a logical sequences, and then being able to take that idea and write it down with detail and elaboration so they can convey their concept via written communication. As students age, the outlining of events, the quality of detail, and eventually the strategies that they use to develop a sentence and convey their ideas should also develop, so that by the time they are graduating and entering the workforce students are able to convey their meaning and ideas competently and accurately to potential employers.
Writing in the Professional World
Working in a professional setting requires strong writing skills. A 2016 study found that 44% of managers feel most recent college graduates entering the workforce lack writing proficiency. With writing skills in such high demand, increased writing instruction and student feedback can benefit students for the rest of their lives.
Taking the stress off of being able to communicate expands a student’s ability to learn and demonstrate their understanding of ideas, and this can help with achievement levels throughout elementary and secondary school and extend well into their professional aptitude. Students who are taught competent writing skills at an early age often reach greater levels of academic success as a result. These benefits pour over into professional skills on a very fundamental level.
Before starting a career, an individual’s writing skills are going to come into play as having a huge role in determining one’s professional abilities. Being able to write a competent resume and cover letter are necessary to gain employment, and communicating with colleagues and clients in a professional setting is also a necessary skill to have.
Regardless of career choice, reading and writing skills are going to factor majorly for a student and help in their career as an adult.. Heightened focus on these skills at the elementary level is essential in ensuring the future success of America's future leaders.