Texting: gd 4 literaC

Texting can b gd 4 ur kids, reports New Scientist.

GR8 news for worried parents: frequent use of text abbreviations does not harm children’s literacy – and may even improve it.

Concerns have been raised that an explosion in the use of “textisms” like “CUL8R” and “wot u doin 2nite?” could be damaging children’s reading and spelling ability. To investigate, Beverly Plester and her colleagues at Coventry University in the UK asked 88 children aged 10 to 12 to write text messages describing 10 different scenarios. When they compared the number of textisms used to a separate study of the children’s reading ability, they found that those who used more textisms were better readers . . .

Based on a follow-up study, she believes the phonetic basis of textisms improves reading.

“Phonological awareness has long been associated with good reading skills.” Exposure to the written word in any form is also linked to improved literacy. “These kids are engaging with more written language and they’re doing it for fun.”

Via Textually.org.

Questions abound for the Washington Post, which observes that teens now do more texting than speaking on their cell phones.

Texters are “sharing a sense of co-presence,” said Mimi Ito of the University of California at Irvine. “It can be a very socially affirming thing.”

. . . But some experts say there are downsides, starting with declines in spelling, word choice and writing complexity. Some suggest too much texting is related to an inability to focus.

Kids these days!

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  1. tim-10-ber says:

    my kids’ cell phones have a feature that enables the kids to send correct — meaning full english and complete sentences – texts. It is very easy to use and even has an option to enable you to quickly change the word or spell the one you want. It is all we use —

    The bad thing about texting — both on a regular phone and blackberry — is the physical damage it can and will do to your thumbs — be very very careful how you text…a device like one use to use with the palm pilot (remember them?) would be very good to use thereby saving the thumbs!

  2. Sister Howitzer says:

    Or maybe the better readers have better language skills, allowing them to be better texters.


  3. Andy Freeman says:

    Textese is essentially phonic, yet we’ve been told that phonics are useless.

  4. Chartermom says:

    Interesting — my middle schooler now spends the bulk of his “at home” time on the computer IMing, emailing and otherwise interacting with other teens (primarily middle schoolers). (He doesn’t have a cell phone so cannot text). This replaces time he previously spent playing video games or watching TV where there was only limited use of communications/language skills. Is it as time as well spent as time spent reading a book? Probably not. But then in the past he only read under duress and spent more time avoiding reading than actually doing it. Now he spends a lot of time using his written communications skills. If he doesn’t communicate clearly then people don’t understand him — so he needs to learn to communicate clearly and concisely. That is an important skill. Is it always proper English? Not as I learned it. But then again the English language has evolved over time — is text the next evolutionary step?

    He also has a tendency to do his homework in front of the computer — something I frown upon. Yet I don’t frown that hard as I wonder which is more important — working in an environment without distractions or learning to work despite multiple distractions. I rarely get to work in an environment without distractions so maybe being able to flit and multi-task is a good thing.

  5. I have to agree with Sister Howitzer’s comment– the students that already have superior literacy skills are likely to be more frequent/more creative texters.

  6. Sister Howitzer said, “Or maybe the better readers have better language skills, allowing them to be better texters. Obviously.”

    Thanks, Sister, for saying something so obviously obvious. I can only add that since texting is by definition the misspelling of words, the only students texting would help would be those who are very young, e.g., in kindergarten and first grade, who are just learning to read. Texting would not help older students who already know how to read and spell.

    Besides, I know that texting does not help students learn phonics. If it did, then my college students would be wonderful readers and spellers since they text ALL the time. In addition, the college students in my Phonics and Linguistics class would all achieve As because they would be very proficient in phonics. But, many of the students who have been texting for years somehow figure out how to achieve failing grades. Go figure.