Students love writing and will often use it as a way to connect with other students, according to a new study from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Researchers studied student engagement and writing in kindergarten through eighth grade.
They used data from the Massachusetts K-12 Academic Study of Literacy, an ongoing longitudinal study of school children’s writing skills.
The study found that students with an interest in writing were more likely to read, type, and answer questions about writing, and also scored higher on measures of writing literacy, engagement, and reading comprehension.
They were also more likely than those with an academic focus to be interested in participating in and participating in group activities.
The results are “excellent evidence that writing is an important component of learning in the classroom,” said Dr. Karen E. Sperling, the study’s senior author.
“This is good news for all children who are reading, writing, participating in school activities, and are learning how to read and write.”
A study published in the journal Educational Psychology in 2013 also found that a high interest in reading, including writing, was associated with higher academic achievement in kindergarten.
Researchers say this study suggests that kids may find writing as a means of connecting with their peers as well as helping them to solve problems.
“Students are using writing to express themselves and to gain recognition for their efforts,” said study coauthor Amy R. Miller, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Massachusetts Amherest.
“They also find that reading helps them gain a sense of belonging and purpose.
This helps them become better students, more likely not to drop out, and more likely be engaged in their school activities.”
Researchers also found high interest levels in reading helped students connect with and communicate with other kids.
“One of the most effective ways to learn to read is to use a book,” said Miller.
“It’s the first language kids learn in kindergarten and early elementary school.
Reading helps them to gain self-confidence and feel they can express themselves.”
This research was supported by the National Science Foundation.
The full study can be found at: https://www.med.umass.edu/~sperling/study/med-library/student-engagement-and-writing-in-kinder-garten-school-grades