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Can texting really help children improve spelling?

I’m not sure if anyone else subscribes to Scholastic’s magazine, “Instructor,” but I often enjoy reading articles that can help me improve my speech sessions. I came across a really interesting article in the Spring 2012 issue. The article claimed that texting on a cell phone can actually improve spelling in kids. My first thought was, NO WAY could that be possible.

As I read on though, the article mentioned a lot of interesting facts that had never occurred to me. I wanted to share them here! A recent Nielson survey states that the average American teen texts 3,339 messages per month. How can we use this information to help the students we teach every day?

According to the article, two recent studies have proven this idea to be true. A British study that was published in the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning concluded that texting helped in the development of phonological awareness and reading skills. The second study was published in the Australian Journal of Educational Development & Psychology and concluded that texting improves spelling because phonological skills are also increased. Here are a few ways the article advocates for texting:

  • Texting helps students read: Children have to often become creative when texting to help them shorten their messages. An example of this is “C u l8ter” for see you later.

  • Texting boosts phonology: When being creative with texts which can be seen in the example above, children must understand how sounds and letters are put together. Texting allows children to be able to do this on a daily basis.

  • Texting is a fun way to play with words: Essentially, texting is writing, and why would we ever stop a group of children from writing? ::Especially when its hard to get them to even start in the classroom::

  • Inventing new textisms is creative: Having to abbreviate words is not easy to do. By creating textisms such as “gr8″, children have to use creativity to make texting quicker.

But how can I stop children from texting in the middle of class? Firstly, why do we need to have children STOP completely? This article also showed me how to incorporate texts into my classroom so that children are doing work while doing what they enjoy at the same time. They listed some incredible resources that I just had to share::

  • This website is a “hassle-free way for teachers to text their students.” Teachers can remind their students of upcoming exams (test Monday!) and send homework and event reminders (class trip tomorrow, don’t forget to pack a lunch!). The cool thing about this website is that parents can also be added to the contact list, which is great when working with younger children who don’t have phones of their own.

  • This website is a way to gather live responses in any venue: including schools! You can easily creat polls that can be text to students who then respond. Students can then view the results of the poll.

  • This amazing website allows students to choose multiple choice and short answer questions via cellphones.

One of the biggest things that I took from this article was that I am no longer going to ban cell phones from my class, but rather, try to incorporate it as often as I can. By doing so, I can hopefully provide an environment that is more exciting and most importantly, motivational! Have you already used texting to assist in your classroom? Share with us at Speechbop!

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