XLNT news for teachers and parents and a reason for kids to LOL. Despite rumors that texting causes children to be poor spellers, a new study from researchers at the University of Alberta showed that commonly used instant messaging language—otherwise known as simple messaging service (SMS)—doesn't impact a child's spelling. Poor spellers remain poor spellers and good spellers remain good spellers.
Connie Varnhagen and her colleagues surveyed about 40 students aged 12 to 17. The researchers asked them to save their instant messages for a week. At the end of the week, all the students took a standardized spelling exam.
"Kids who are good spellers [academically] are good spellers in instant messaging," Varnhagen said. "And kids who are poor spellers in English class are poor spellers in instant messaging."
The researchers learned that texting varied by sex. Girls were more likely to use SMS to communicate, and boys used repeated punctuation to express emotions (awesome!!!!). Boys who frequently used abbreviations tended to be poorer spellers, while girls who did the same were better spellers than girls who did not shorten words in texts. The large and evolving SMS lexicon also impressed researchers. They admitted they often had to look up abbreviations in online dictionaries or ask younger people to define some abbreviations.
(Photo courtesy of Flickr user semarr, used via Creative Commons license.)