Why Writing Skills Are So Important For Our Children

Kids don't write very well anymore.  They just don't.

Scores have plummeted around the country and some new figures out of a standardized test in Florida is distressing to say the least.

Preliminary numbers released this week show that only 27% of 4th graders earned a passing score on a standardized writing test. A year ago more than 80% passed!

What is going on here?

The first guess of many is that the standards have gotten too high.

Re-read that line a few more time.

Standards have gotten too high.

Too high?? Compared to WHAT??

The embarrassingly LOW standards our kids have had put on them for years now?

As high as the standards allegedly are today, they are still a joke compared to where they were years ago.

Kids DON'T write very well.

And that should scare all of us.

Writing is a HUGE part of how we communicate everyday with each other.

If we don't become good writers, we compromise our ability to get along with each other.

And that isn't good anyway you look at it.

I'm old fashioned and blame the TEXTING OBSESSION for a lot of this decline in writing skills.

It's become a true addiction for many, especially the young who crank out hundreds if not thousands of texts every week.

If they were texting Shakespeare or new vocabulary words I guess I wouldn't be as critical.

Ok, I'd settle for a coherent and complete thought.

LOL and BRB and L8ER aren't enriching our ability to communicate through writing.

Kids are definitely fast at texting. But speed isn't everything.

It's the CONTENT we should be worried about.

What good is a communication method that cheapens the richness of vocabulary and our ability to speak and write well?

That's why I think "YO" and a knuckle greeting are inferior or "HELLO" and a firm handshake.

I think picking up the phone and SPEAKING with another human being is preferable to a "What up?" via text message.

What fascinates me the most is that in the age of global communication, an age where we can Tweet and text and Facebook and whatever else we are doing at lightning speeds, we are really not advancing in the QUALITY of our communications.

Kids can't even look their own friends in the eye and string together thoughts when speaking to each other. Because everything is a text message these days.

Big problem is they are not learning CRITICAL communication skills.

How will texting skills help them when they are having to work a room full of strangers and network? How will it help them interview for a job? How will it help their professional, personal, and even romantic relationships?

I know times have changed. I just don't always agree it's for the better. Or something we need to accept as just the way things are.

Something was lost when we stopped writing letters. Could it be argued that a string of gibberish texts are the equivalent of a well thought out letter to a friend or loved one or business partner?

We don't even WRITE letters anymore. Sure, we have e-mail. And it's cool to be able to transmit a message INSTANTLY. But still, much is lost I think.

So we've replaced writing with exercising our thumbs and texting 20,000 times a day like obsessed and addicted users. We've dumbed down literally every way we have to communicate with each other.

And kids are reading JUNK instead of the classics. I am SHOCKED that kids never seem to be opening up the core classics that have been time tested material.

This doesn't help their writing skills either.

Why? Because what we READ directly can affect how we WRITE.

There's a reason why most authors will tell you that in order to improve your writing skills, you would do yourself (and your readers) a service by READING more.

So in an age where everything has been dumbed down, maybe it isn't so shocking that kids can't write very well.

But it IS sad.

Writing is a skill that you CANNOT afford to put by the wayside.

We tell our kids everyday that the more you read and the better you write, the more successful you can potentially become.

Simple truths that used to be instilled in us at a young age.

Hopefully they will be again one day.