Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.

2005-03-23

Teen Writing Skills: Better Than Expected

And fort that, we can thank technology. You know all that instant messaging stuff? RU there? LOL? CU L8tr? brb? It may make precise spellers & grammarphiles cringe, but it's not the downfall of written English all the doomsayers were predicting.

Christina McCarroll of the Christian Science Monitor reports:
Though plenty of adults grumble about e-mail and instant-messaging (IM), and the text messages that send adolescent thumbs dancing across cellphone keypads, many experts insist that teenage composition is as strong as ever - and that the proliferation of writing, in all its harried, hasty forms, has actually created a generation more adept with the written word.

"People are so intent on seeing contemporary popular culture as bad, as lesser, that they can't sort out certain ways in which young people today, because of the Internet revolution, are better at what we used to do," says Al Filreis, director of the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing at the University of Pennsylvania, who deals with high school writers as well as college students. In the past 20 years, he's seen "the quality of student writing at the high school level [go] way up, and this is explained by the fact that they do more writing than they ever did."
(emphasis mine)

Vindication is so sweet. One area where kids could use some help, though? Writing formal letters and addressing envelopes. In an interview on Here and Now yesterday, McCarroll related a story from her mother's 8th grade English classroom about how students could not for the life of them figure out what format a formal letter should take, what information they should write on a standard envelope, and in what order it should go.

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