Bilingual Necessity: Teaching Reading and Writing to a Texting Generation

writingWelcome to a bilingual America. Currently, society has been content with the adaptation of a bilingual minority but millennials have been handed an injustice and it is time to recognize the importance of teaching reading and writing to a texting generation. The creativity and beauty of the English language is beyond debate. Today’s youth have adopted a new way to communicate, in the form of texting.

English is deeply ingrained in the fabric of this country.  Although America has become a melting pot of cultural pluralism with many languages, there is no denying the increasing power of a few letters when making a statement. Acronyms, such as LOL, LMAO, TTYL, BRB, and others have long been utilized to send shortened messages for the current generation. There is nothing wrong with this new way of communication but unless the educational system emphasizes the need for the importance of teaching reading and writing to a texting generation, the bilingual minority will become the majority.

William Faulkner’s prose or the great rhetoric of William Shakespeare is all one needs to understand the richness of the English language. However, society continues to innovate the tongue of the homeland  by creating new words every year. Language is not just an instrument of communication. It is a symbol of a group or social identity, an emblem of solidarity and membership, which serves several communicative functions. Simply stated, language is a tool for thinking and learning, it gives the feeling of identity and connection.

The belief that texting is the language of the unlearned is foolishly shortsighted, not to mention somewhat prejudice. English is the international language of business and will probably remain so for the foreseeable future. However, texting is becoming a crucial second language, which is here to stay. Those who fail to acknowledge this do so at their own risk and at the expense of their future success in communication. However, this does not mean the countrywriting should reduce the importance of reading and writing as a necessary requirement within the rudiments of education.

Studies suggest, in today’s society, many cell phone users prefer texting over talking. This has created a divide, of sorts, within the arena of communication… the texters vs. the talkers. Some argue that it does not matter how people communicate but many experts contend that the most successful communicators have the ability to utilize both and understand when it is most appropriate to use either.

In order to shift the culture of these bilinguals from a minority state to the majority, reading and writing must again be taught to this texting generation. Deborah Konyk, the mother of a teenage daughter who regularly emphasized reading to her girls and spent countless hours in the library, said:

Reading opens up doors to places that you probably will never get to visit in your lifetime, to cultures, to worlds, to people.

Federal statistics show that students who read leisurely, at least once every day, score significantly higher on reading tests, than those who do not. A survey found that employers also place a high value on reading skills. Nearly 90 percent of employers consider reading comprehension vital for workers with bachelor’s degrees, according to the survey. Statistics from the Department of Education also reveal that those who score higher on reading tests tend to earn higher incomes.

Experts say teaching reading and writing must not be neglected. These skills continue to prove beneficial long after the early years. Currently, bilingual millennials fall under the category of minorities. It is time to change those statistics by going back to the basics of teaching reading and writing, especially to this texting generation.

Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)


New York Times: Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?
ALOHA: The Importance of Good Writing and Reading Skills

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Top Image Courtesy of Pedro Ribeiro Simões – Flickr License
Inline Image Courtesy of Sam O’Connor – Flickr License
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