Facebook 'Can Help to Improve Writing Skills' Networking Boosts Ability and Confidence

Article excerpt

Byline: Katie Norman

SOCIAL networking sites like Facebook and Bebo could help improve children's writing skills, according to research.

A study conducted by the National Literacy Trust found that children's confidence in their writing abilities were boosted by writing blogs and using social networking sites.

The survey, of more than 3,000 youngsters aged between nine and 16, found more than half of all respondents thought writing was "boring" but that youngsters who spent time blogging enjoyed writing more than their peers who did not keep a blog.

It found that 57% of youngsters who kept blogs said they liked writing compared to 40% of children who did not do so.

The findings, detailed in the report, Young People's Writing: Attitudes, Behaviour and the Role of Technology, also indicated that 61% young bloggers and 56% youngsters with a social networking page claimed to be good or very good at writing.

Dr Spencer Jordan, who lectures in creative writing at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff's (Uwic) School of Education, said web technologies were proving to be an ideal way of encouraging young people to write confidently about things they enjoy.

He said: "When I was a kid I used to write in exercise books kept in a drawer, but now that young people write on the web there's a whole community out there to read their work. It's interactive and that makes it more appealing to them."

Dr Jordan believes encouraging learners to share their writing through blogs can help boost their confidence in their own abilities.

"It allows them to share what they're doing," he said.

"In the old days of teaching creative writing it was difficult to share each other's work without shuffling notebooks around. Now we just put all our work on the web and people can look at it whenever they want.

"I run workshops for creative writing and I always encourage students to upload their work to our blog and read each other's work. It's really good for their confidence.

"It's not just about creative writing either. A lot of our students write music reviews or set up their own web pages about their own interests. …