Yes, teachers must instill a love (and hopefully an obsession) with reading in our students however, we must also meet children where they are and challenge them to embrace the reading in their everyday world. From closed captioning on televisions to websites, blogging, and text messaging literacy is everywhere!!!
Study: TMOT, Texting Can Help Reading Skills
By SLJ Staff -- School Library Journal, 3/1/2009 8:20:00 PM
The finding sounds 2G2BT, but British researchers say text messaging doesn’t harm literacy. In fact, those who regularly text have better reading skills, despite their frequent use of phonetic spellings, abbreviations, and omission of vowels.
A study published in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology looked at 88 U.K. kids ages 10 to12 to examine the impact of texting on their language skills and found that it could actually have a positive effect on the way kids interact with language.
“Children's use of textisms is not only positively associated with word reading ability, but it may be contributing to reading development," the report says.
Lead author Beverley Plester told theBBC that texting doesn’t negatively impact children's spelling ability, either. “What we think of as misspellings, don't really break the rules of language and children have a sophisticated understanding of the appropriate use of words.”
The kids involved in the study were asked to compose text messages for 10 different scenarios. The textisms were split into categories, including shortenings, contractions, acronyms, symbols and unconventional spellings, and analyzed for their use of language alongside more traditional schoolwork. Researchers found that the ratio of textisms to total words used was positively associated with word reading, vocabulary, and phonological awareness.
"When we look for examples of text speak in essays, we don't seem to find very many," says Plester, explaining that "The more exposure you have to the written word the more literate you become and we tend to get better at things that we do for fun."
A 2006 study from the University of Toronto had similar results. It found that teens have a strong comand of grammar in their text messaging.