Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Are Facebook and Twitter turning us into an illiterate society?
For years I had a torch hidden under my pillow and as soon as I heard mum's last footstep on the top of the stairs, I got out my torch and hid under the blankets to continue reading about the adventures of The Famous Five or the twisting tale of the Bubblegum Tree. On rainy days instead of watching TV, I would be curled up on the couch reading. My proudest moments at school were taking the reading tests and being told I was reading at a level well above my age. I always borrowed far too many books from the library and constantly had books overdue.
When I read this story this morning, it made me sad to know that less than half of all British children aged eight to seventeen choose to read a book outside of class at least once a month.
It said that children are now increasingly getting their literacy skills from Facebook, Twitter, emails and texting, the language and grammar of which, in my opinion, leaves a lot to be desired.
Don't get me wrong, social networking is amazing, and I love it because it allows me to keep in touch with people I met overseas who I would otherwise lose touch with. Then again, isn't it nice to sometimes receive a well-written letter in the post? My American friend Hannah, who I met three years ago, and I exchange letters, and there is nothing more exciting than getting home from work and finding a hand-written envelope in your mailbox.
So now there is a real fear out there that more and more adults will start struggling with literacy over the next few years because, as children, they just didn't read. Putting the literacy factor aside, I am also so saddened by the fact that these children are missing out on the joy of books - the excitement of being transported into another world while curled up in bed at night, and the discoveries you make about life.
I'm sure most people with kids following this blog will have no problem getting their kids to read, and my future children will definitely know the joy of books, but what about the rest? How do we get kids off Facebook and into a good book?