Text messaging associated with strong literacy skills: Study

According to researchers at the University of Coventry, children who regularly use the abbreviated language of text messages are actually improving their ability to spell.
"Texting requires the same phonological awareness needed to learn correct spellings. So when pupils replace or remove sounds, letters or syllables - such as 'l8r' for 'later' or 'hmwrk' for 'homework' - it requires an understanding of what the original word should be," the researchers said.
Pointing out that text language uses word play and requires an awareness of how sounds relate to written English, they said, "this link between texting and literacy has proved a surprise."
The study of 63 pupils, eight- to 12-year-olds, also suggests that children who regularly use text language - with all its mutations of phonetic spelling and abbreviations - also appear to be developing skills in the more formal use of English.
Instead of texting being a destructive influence on learners, the academics argue that it offers them a chance to "practise reading and spelling on a daily basis".

"Using initials and abbreviations and understanding phonetics and rhymes are part of texting - but they are also part of successful reading and spelling development," said Dr Clare Wood, a reader in developmental psychology.
The use of text language "was actually driving the development of phonological awareness and reading skill in children," Wood said.
"If we are seeing a decline in literacy standards among young children, it is in spite of text messaging, not because of it," he concluded.
The findings are part of an interim report of the year-long study part-funded by the British Academy. The final report is expected next year, BBC reported.

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