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Caribbean Journal of Education

Mobile text Messaging as a Literacy Development Vehicle Another Way to Improve Student Writing and Spelling

Publication Date: 
September 2012

This paper reports on a study which investigated the relationship between Jamaican children’s texting practice, their knowledge of text messaging writing systems and their ability to write in Standard English. In this study 72 nine- to ten-year-old children from four different schools in the same parish in Jamaica provided information on their texting behaviour by writing an essay, composition, or a few sentences using a chosen text messaging writing system. They were also asked to translate this text message to Standard English. The children had very few errors in their Standard English samples, despite being able to write fluently using a text messaging writing system. The group-based comparisons showed that accuracy in writing in the translated samples was associated with greater use of text messaging writing systems. The findings showed that children’s ability to text does not cause them to write poor English, however, weak writers of English have difficulties developing and using text messaging writing systems.

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