Digital Childhoods and Literacy Development: Is Textspeak a Special Case of "Efficient Orthography"?

Clare Wood, Helen Johnson

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    In this chapter, we discuss the continued prevalence of digital technology as a pervasive feature of childhood and we consider the phenomenon of textspeak, the form of shorthand used when writing in digital contexts such as SMS and social media, as an emergent linguistic form that has divided opinion. We then examined the proposal that textspeak may be seen as an efficient orthography. Our research into textspeak and literacy development is reexamined and understood through the theoretical lens of Share's (1995) self-teaching theory as a way of both further evidencing support for this idea and also broadening our understanding of why children's exposure to English textspeak appears to benefit their literacy development. We end the chapter with some important observations related to the children's use of personal digital devices and academic abilities more generally, while concluding that there is scope for empirical work to use digital literacy as a valid environment for constructing tasks that might test the claims made within self-teaching theory.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCognitive Development in Digital Contexts
    EditorsFran, C Blumberg, Patricia, J Brooks
    PublisherAcademic Press
    Number of pages16
    ISBN (Print)978-0-12-809481-5
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2017


    • Textspeak
    • Childhood
    • Literacy development
    • Orthography
    • Phonology


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