children should keep a diary

Reasons your children should keep a diary

5th October 2018

In the report Children and Young people’s Diary Writing, the National Literacy Trust found that pupils who keep a diary are almost twice as likely to write above the expected level for their age. We explore how keeping a diary could motivate your child to write and improve their attainment.

Diaries are a great way for children and young people to keep track of life, record memories and note down ideas, aspirations and emotions. Children also enjoy reading diary-style books, particularly Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the Tom Gates series and Tracey Beaker.

Sadly, the number of children who keep a diary has diminished over the last five years, and the National Literacy Trust are keen to revive this once popular pastime. The charity is urging parents to encourage their children to take up diary writing to help them to become more fluent, confident writers.

Here are 5 ways a diary could boost attainment:

1. Children can choose what to write

At school, children have little choice when it comes to the topics that they write about. Diary writing provides children with the freedom to choose, making writing a much more pleasurable experience. Keeping a diary could encourage children to write more outside of school – they can be as creative as they like. The more they write, the more they should improve.

2. Writing becomes routine

According to the Senior Programme Manager at the National Literacy Trust, ‘Writing a diary can help build children’s confidence in their own writing ability, and as confidence grows, so does their motivation to want to do more’. Children could write once a day or once a week, encourage them and it will soon become routine.

3. Improves handwriting

Technology has taken over, and sometimes it seems that handwriting is no longer important. However, it is still an essential skill and can receive a percentage of marks in various tests. Try to encourage your child to write their diary by hand (it will help with spelling and grammar too!)

4. Better communication skills

Diary writing requires children to think about the words that they are using to express themselves. It also encourages them to order their thoughts before putting pen to paper, making their writing more coherent.

5. Supports the National Curriculum

The conventions of diary writing are covered in depth as part of the English National Curriculum. Writing a diary at home will support the curriculum and provide the opportunity for children to practice and develop the skills that they have learnt in class.

Diaries can be different

Diaries can be used to record many different things. Every child has different interests and hobbies, so let them decide the sort of diary that they keep – there’s something for everyone. The goal is to get them to write regularly, whatever the subject matter.

Here’s 5 to choose from:

Study diary – for recording details on what they have learned at school and notes about any areas that they need to revise or ideas about school projects.
Personal diary – for recording details about their day and how they are feeling, or thoughts about upcoming events.
Holiday diary – for writing about the events of family holidays and what they enjoyed the most.
Nature diary – for recording details of birds, insects, plants or animals that they see on walks and outings.
Project diary – for keeping track of particular projects that they may be working on (at school or home) or something that they are interested in and want to learn more about.

For more ideas and inspiration, visit

Related: Discover the best children’s books that teach important life lessons here.