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Writing More than Ever: Teens and Texting

Writing More than Ever: Teens and Texting

Written by Paul Oh
March 16, 2011

There is much handwringing over the impact texting is having on our kids’ academic writing. As teens – and even younger children – text more, the thinking goes, the less they’ll adhere to the standard structures of writing and composition, affecting their ability to write for school purposes.

Well, as this article by Gary Stern points out, and as research from the Pew Internet and American Life Project shows us, texting doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon.

Furthermore, kids are actually writing more, and for reasons meangingful to them, these days as they send texts to one another – sometimes as many as 50 per day. 

Stern explores the impact of texting on writing in his article, “Kids write more, gain ease with language, through texting.”

Kids are becoming at ease with language and self-expression only a few years after they’re potty-trained, educators say. And their young minds are quite capable of switching to formal writing styles when it’s time for book reports and essays.

“When I first saw LOL appear on an essay, I was sort of horrified,” said Stephanie Pollack, an English teacher at Pearl River Middle School. “But I realized that texting is just a different form of writing. The main thing they have to understand is that each form of writing has structures and guidelines that don’t carry to other forms. It can be a bit complicated for them, but it keeps written communication going.”

Language evolves and changes. And our students are at the forefront of ushering in those changes. What are we as educators doing to help them, and ourselves, reflect upon and understand the implications of these changes with regard to teaching and learning?

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