'Msg txting' improves kids' literacy

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London, May 25 : As a concerned parent you might feel like shouting OMG! (Oh, My God!), when you see your teenage kid submerged in texting messages, but here's something that certainly will cheer many more like you - according to a new research, text messages can improve literacy among children.

Professor David Crystal believes that sending frequent texts helps children's reading and writing because of the imaginative abbreviations needed.

The finding is in stark contrast to fears that texting's free forms and truncated words herald the abandonment of traditional grammar.

"People have always used abbreviations. They do not actually use that many in texts but when they do they are using them in new, playful and imaginative ways that benefit literacy," Times Online quoted Crystal, honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor, as saying.

Crystal's views will appear in his new book, 'Txtng: The Gr8 Db8'. In one study due to appear in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology, researchers asked 88 10 to 12-year-olds to compose text messages for various social scenarios.

Beverly Plester, a senior lecturer in psychology at Coventry University, and her colleagues found that using "textisms" - abbreviations such as "2nite" for "tonight" - was "positively associated with word reading, vocabulary and phonological awareness".

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