Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Texting to Teach Reading and Writing

Purpose: To incorporate text messaging into reading and writing instruction for ESL or general literacy/ABE learners.

Tips for using texting with students:

· Ask students to read a text and then summarize it for you in one to three text messages. Compile the summaries, if working with a group, and ask the students to choose the best summary.

· Send out a word of the day. If you are studying workplace skills, send out words related to those lessons. Ask student s to respond by sending you a definition of the word. For more information on how to do this, visit

· Share grammar tips. The article above will tell you how to do this. Ask students to write back incorporating the grammar in context.

· Ask students to text you their opinions related to a discussion or an article covered in a lesson recently, or ask them to text you and tell you something that they learned in a recent lesson.

· Create a glossary to help “translate” text message abbreviations and acronyms. Sites such as Sharpened Glossary ( allow users to type in an acronym and find out what it means. Try sending out a message with various abbreviations or acronyms and encourage students to use a site like Sharpened Glossary to decode the meaning.

· Share announcements. If class is canceled due to a blizzard, students may be more likely to respond to a text message than an e-mail or phone call.

Note: Be aware that keyboards can be very different and someone with a normal keypad (non-blackberry or qwerty) will be much slower than someone with a specialized keyboard.

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