Friday, June 15, 2012

Raising Jackson: 2 much txting mks u 1 bad splr

I'm gonna tell you something now that you're going to have a hard time believing.  But I promise...what  I'm going to tell you is the God's honest truth.

My son's grammar improved from texting.  So did his spelling.  Shut UP!  You say.  BS! You Cry.  No, YOU shut up!  Just kidding.  But, it's true.  Here's how.

I'm a word nerd.  And although I'm loathe to admit it, I've been called a grammer nazi more than once.  Which surprises me just a bit, because, really, it's my friend and fellow WWWP, Tammy, who is the REAL grammer nazi...actually not a nazi, she's quite kind, but she can dissect a sentence like nobody's business.

But I digress.

I fell in love with texting from my first text back in 2007.  It stands to reason... all forms of written communication interest me. Anyway, a few years later, my boys had phones of their own, and texting became their favorite form of communication, too.  I'd heard the rumors though, and as a grammar natzi, I was determined not to let my kids' english skills go to hell with the help of a device the size of an ampersand.  I die a little inside when I see texts like this:

how r u

wat u doin?

Ugh. Seriously?  And I don't want to hear that crap about character count.  Buy a vowel, for God's sake (see what I mean by Grammar nazi?).

I think I've digressed again.  Reading and Writing were Jack's least favorite subjects in school.  He is a very bright kid, but he couldn't spell to save his life.  When he got his phone and started texting me, I was appalled.  I mean, I knew my little angel wasn't a solid speller, but this was ridiculous.  I started correcting his texts in my replies.  Our text conversations looked like this:

Jack:  "Hey Mom! Can I go 2 Bens huose? Pleeze?"

Me:  "Ben's house?  Please?  And yes, if you send the text again with all the words spelled out correctly."

There were actually times when I refused to respond until he resent the message using "The Queen's English."  Believe me, when they need an answer quick, they're willing to work a little harder.

Jack: "if ur home, can u get my stuf and bring it over 2 dads"
Me: "I'm home.  If you're home, you could get your stuff. But, I'll get it and bring it to your dad's."

I honestly wasn't thinking about some great lesson taught through text message.  At the time, I was just frustrated with the spelling errors, and my grammar nazi alter ego shuddered at the shortcuts.

Slowly, over the course of a year, I noticed changes in his text messages.  He began spelling out words, and spelling them correctly.  He began using the correct form of a word.  No more did he confuse their, they're and there (my biggest pet peeve, thank you very much) or your and you're.  His writing at school improved markedly this year, too.  I'm sure it had more to do with his teachers than my text message "lessons" but I'm very proud of how far he's come.

There is one message, though, that I've never corrected.  Anytime I get any form of "I love you" like:
luv u
luv u 2
luv u

I've always just been happy to get the message, and didn't want him to think I was more concerned with the way it was delivered than the fact that it was delivered at all.

But, recently, jack has been spelling that out, too.  When he started, it looked like this: "I love you to"
my response:  "I love you, too!" It was enough.  And now I get "I love you, too."  Even the comma!  But, I'd take it any way he wanted to tell me.

Contrary to popular belief, texting can help, rather than hinder, spelling and grammar. Try it at home.  Really!  Texting doesn't have to suck every last grammar lesson from our kids' heads.  It can actually be another vehicle for learning... if we just go about it the right way.

(Author's note: I am fully aware that Jack still uses his own text language with his friends.  That's okay. At least I know that he can use proper grammar and spelling when it's necessary!)


  1. I am new to texting (I've been doing it for less than 6 months) but I'm slow at it because 1) my fingers are too fat for the keyboard and 2) I spell everything out.

    When you become a part-time DJ, perhaps you can chat about the benefits of texting???

  2. Now that is one way to teach your kid to spell. Maybe schools should demand it: everyone text your mother.

  3. I love it. Grammar nazis everywhere applaud you!

  4. Grt way 2 teach - he he he (I have no idea how to text!)