Concerns have been raised that an increase in the use of textisms like wot u doin 2nite? and waz up could be damaging childrens reading and spelling ability. But,a new study has shown that frequent use of text abbreviations does not harm kids literacy – and may even improve it.
For the study,Beverly Plester and her colleagues at Coventry University in the UK asked 88 children aged 10 to 12 to write text messages describing 10 different scenarios.
When they compared the number of textisms used to a separate study of the childrens reading ability,they found that those who used more textisms were better readers.
Plester said that preliminary results of the follow-up study seem to suggest that textisms improve literacy.
She believes that this is because textisms are phonetically based.
“Phonological awareness has long been associated with good reading skills,” New Scientist quoted Plester,as saying.
Exposure to the written word in any form is also linked to improved literacy.
“These kids are engaging with more written language and theyre doing it for fun,” Plester added.
The study has been published in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology.