Great Textpectations

By Bryan Toporek — December 11, 2009 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A recent study of 3,001 children by the National Literacy Trust in the United Kingdom finds that children who engage with technology have stronger core literacy skills than their technologically unsound peers, according to BBC News.

The survey found that 24 percent of children ages nine to 16 have their own blog, and that 82 percent of those children send text messages at least once a month. “This suggests a strong correlation between kids using technology and wider patterns of reading and writing,” said Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust.

“Engagement with online technology drives their enthusiasm for writing short stories, letters, song lyrics or diaries,” Douglas explained.

The survey found that 47 percent of children who didn’t blog or use social networks rated their writing as “good” or “very good.” By comparison, 61 percent of students who blog and 56 percent of the social networkers described their writing the same way.

Dismissing the criticism that texting can adversely affect communication skills, Douglas said, “Our research results are conclusive—the more forms of communications children use the stronger their core literary skills.”

John Coe, general secretary of the National Association for Primary Education, recognizes the potential benefits to texting and “online speak.”

“It is a form of reading and writing. It might not be conventional but they are communicating, so there is a general gain,” said Coe.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.