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11-10-2016 | Issue 5/2017

Education and Information Technologies 5/2017

Texting, reading, and other daily habits associated with adolescents’ literacy levels

Journal:
Education and Information Technologies > Issue 5/2017
Authors:
Dmitri Zebroff, David Kaufman

Abstract

The level of functional illiteracy in the North American context, among others, appears to be reaching epidemic levels. The necessary linguistic and intellectual tools required to adequately function in our complex, highly-literate societies are not being sufficiently developed in many of our homes or schools. The findings from the present study are consistent with some general trends found in the research literature connected to practices potentially influencing the development of literacy in youth. This correlational, quantitative study showed that text-messaging practices did not appear to be significantly associated with literacy in this adolescent population sample; reading in the traditional sense, on the other hand, exhibited more positive links with literacy attainment than all the other practices considered. These findings, similarly to previous research, suggest that the type of reading that is occurring while texting is substantially different, in terms of its associations with literacy, from more traditional forms of reading. Yet while the amount of time spent by young people on digital practices such as texting is rising rapidly, the amount of time spent reading, in the traditional sense, remains low. Rather than focusing on potential technological solutions, increasing the quantity and complexity level of more traditional forms of reading in adolescence appears to be a more prudent strategy for enhancing functional literacy in society.

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