WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) – When we get a text message on our cell phones we read it! However, most of us don't consider that actual reading! However, a new survey says one in 4 kids believes texting "counts" as reading!
"Texting is definitely not reading," said teacher Stacy Rice.
From high school students all the way down to third graders, getting students to understand what they're reading is necessary to move forward with their education.
"If children aren't reading on grade level by the end of third grade there's an 80% chance they'll never be reading on grade level," said literacy expert Lana Jean.
Students at Walnut Ridge High School and elementary are focused on reading. That other type of reading they do outside of the classroom is affecting their learning.
"There's a time and a place for everything and the classroom is not the place for it," said Rice.
Part of the problem is texting and the social media sites many students use. They're not only affecting how kids read but how they write!
"Some of our assignments turned in will have some of those coding that coding language in it," said High School Principal Charles Lee.
"The one I see more than anything is "ppl" instead of people," said Rice.
When a paper is turned in using any of the phrases commonly used in texts or on Facebook teachers do grade off for it.
"Anytime you're writing a paper for a formal English class you need to be more formal with it," said Rice.
"It is the way in which students communicate with each other in our society today," said Lee.
Teachers and administrators don't want students to use texting or Facebook as a way of reading but say they do understand why students do.
"Kids are just more interested in their social life than they are in anything academic so when they have to choose between the two they're almost always going to choose the social," said Rice.
Literacy is a focus for this school. That's why the third graders are starting early, spending quiet reading time everyday!
"If a child doesn't like to read he or she is probably not going to read so we do everything we can to encourage that reading," said Jean.
If your child is struggling with reading, Lee said you may want to place limits on when your child can use their cell phone and computer. The more time they spend reading the better readers they will be.
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