Correct punctuation can at times be essential to the meaning of a sentence; but more than that, it can make your story so much easier and more pleasurable to read. If your story is confusing, or stilted; if readers have to go back to make sense of what they have read, they may give up, particularly children who struggle to read in the first place.
So when you are writing, make thoughtful use of all the punctuation marks available to you. Look at all these beauties: ! ? . , : ; – “ ( ) ” – . . . all there to help you in the crafting of your story!
If you are writing to share a message, you have even more reason to check that your story reads well. Every so often, read what you have written out loud, to ensure each sentence and paragraph flow beautifully and that your readers will pause in all the right places. (Tip: vary the length of your sentences. This enhances the rhythm of your story.)
Sloppy punctuation is . . . sloppy. Your readers deserve the best – make sure you give it to them. 🙂