Txt Msgs Make Kidz Gr8 Spellrz, Study Says
The study, conducted by researchers at Coventry University, examined 114 9- and 10-year-old children who did not already use cell phones. The subjects were prompted to take a series of reading, spelling and phonological awareness tests, before being divided into two groups. Half of the kids were given a mobile phone with which to text their friends on weekends and holidays. The second group served as a control. After ten weeks, researchers administered a second wave of tests, and recorded any differences in performance.
After controlling for differences in individual IQ levels, researchers found that children who regularly texted over the ten-week period improved their test results by a greater margin than those in the control group. The report speculates that these higher test scores could be explained by the "highly phonetic nature" of text lingo, as many abbreviations require students to understand the alphabet in a unique way. The study also acknowledges that texting could exert a positive effect on literacy "because of the indirect way in which mobile phone use may be increasing children's exposure to print outside of school."
The results were apparently robust enough to convince Professor Clare Wood, a senior lecturer at Coventry's psychology department. "We are now starting to see consistent evidence that children's use of text message abbreviations has a positive impact on their spelling skills," she told the Telegraph. "There is no evidence that children's language play when using mobile phones is damaging literacy development." So there you have it. If you want your kid to be a Gr8 speller, you'd better teach him how 2 txt.