Friday, March 4, 2011

"average U.S. teen sends 3,339 texts a month"

Kids write more, gain ease with language, through texting is the story's headline.  I question if the quality of their writing improves.
The Nielsen Company recently found that the average U.S. teen sends 3,339 texts a month — more than six during every waking hour. Teen females lead the way with 4,050 texts per month....
I would agree that texting helps develop certain language skills:
"Adolescents may not consider their writing to be writing, but it takes skill and creativity in order to manipulate language so you can be understood by your peers," Turner said. "They can experiment with language, have a unique voice and be part of a community."...
Many educators have quickly concluded they need to understand how kids communicate and, rather than scoffing at texting, actively help students switch between different modes of writing."If students know that you understand their text language, they listen to you," said Maureen Lindell, an English teacher at Eastchester High School. "Then we can say, 'This is the language you use with your friends, and this is the language you use in school,' " she said.
And then there's this problem:
Westlake Middle School teacher Christine Silidigan said that some students definitely acquire bad habits from texting, like skipping capital letters and commas and using the wrong forms of words."So instead of discussing important aspects to help a writer grow, we're spending our time undoing all the bad habits formed with texting," she said.
This is hard to believe.
"The research has shown that the best texters are the best spellers and that texting actually improves literacy skills," he wrote.
In fact, I did not find anything specific in this article that shows improved literacy skills were caused by more texting.  Perhaps it is simply a correlation with no causation.  Higher income children are more likely to own mobile phones and computers, so they are more likely to be heavy texters.  And higher income generally correlates with higher literacy skills.

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