Saturday, 3 May, 2008 1:45 PM
Is Text Messaging
Destroying Kids Writing?
courtesy of www.loveourchildrenusa.org
– Somewhere out there is the mind that will produce
the next great American novel. If, however, that would-be author
is under the age of 18, the words they write may be more of “SOZ”
and “TGGTG” then beautiful, flowing prose.
“We have a whole generation being raised without communication
skills,” says Jacquie Ream, former teacher and author of “K.I.S.S.
Keep It Short and Simple” (Book Publishers Network). She contends
text messaging and the internet are destroying the way our kids
read, think, and write.
A recent National Center for Education Statistics study reports
only one out of four high school seniors is a proficient writer.
A College Board survey of the nations blue-chip companies found
only two thirds of their employees are capable writers.
“These kids aren’t learning to spell. They’re
learning acronyms and short hand,” says Ream, “Text
messaging is destroying the written word. The students aren’t
writing letters, they’re typing into their cell phones one
line at a time. Feelings aren’t communicated with words when
your texting; emotions are sideways smiley faces. Kids are typing
shorthand jargon that isn’t even a complete thought.”
Reading may not be the problem. Neilson/NetRatings reports the average
12 to 17-year-old visits more than 1400 web pages a month. Ask that
average teenager what they read, and they may be able to tell you.
Ask the average teenager what their opinion is on that blog or article,
and you may find them fumbling for thoughts that are their own.
“What’s not taught today,” says Ream, “Is
critical thinking skills. Teachers are forced to use what little
classroom time they have to teach to the standardized tests. The
kids learn how to regurgitate information to parrot it back for
the correct answer, but they can’t process the thought and
build on it.”
School system money is often tied into the standardized testing
results. Many teachers complain of being pressured to spend so much
time teaching to the test, that they don’t have the time to
guide the children into true, thought provoking learning.
“There’s a whole generation that can’t come up
with new ideas,” says Ream. And even if they did have a breakthrough
thought or opinion of their own, they couldn’t share it with
the rest of us.”
This generation, however, isn’t a complete ‘write off.’
Ream says the parents can make a big difference in the way their
children communicate. She suggests reading the same book your teenager
is reading – then trying to open a dinner table conversation
about the plot of that novel.
Ream says writing is a skill that can be learned. Her book, “K.I.S.S.
Keep It Short and Simple” lays out a formula she says makes
writing easier: Teach your kids to organize their thoughts on paper;
compare the subject with others to show how the ideas are similar;
contrast the subject with others to show how the concept is different;
and interrelate – write the essay to show how the subject
relates to the reader.
Every generation has great minds with great thoughts that can guide
the rest of us. If teenagers aren’t taught to groom their
opinions and ideas so that they can write effectively, society will
lose out on a generation of creativity. “If we let these kids
get caught up in technology, if we let politicians get caught up
in testing, it’s America as a whole that loses out on great
words, thoughts and novels that will never be written.”
About Jacquie Ream
Jacquie Ream has been a teacher, a workshop director, a daycare
owner, and is now the author of “K.I.S.S. Keep It Short and
Simple.” She has devoted her life to guiding others how to
clearly and concisely share their thoughts and ideas on paper. She
has a BA in English and a Masters in Creative Writing from the University
of Washington. www.reamink.com
Source: News and Experts