Writing poetry and performing it, on the other hand, gives kids an audience and purpose. That's not surprising for kids growing up in a social media world, where young people are writing - and reading - details of their lives through status updates and tweets.
It is challenging adjustment for educators, says Kevin Leander of Vanderbilt University. He's one of the country's leading adolescent literacy experts.
"Kids do a lot of reading and writing in everyday social media," he says. "Part of what we're trying to figure out is how to tap into those practices that are already developed."
Teachers in many classrooms around the country are using iPads and digital technology to engage students.
But writing lead Warner to books. He says the reading he has done has changed his outlook on life.