Literacy Stamina and Social Media

I use social media in assorted formats and diverse purposes.  As a high school ELA teacher,facebook I aspire to immerse students in literacy: lots of opportunities to read and write every day.  As time has passed, there has always been a certain population of students who are reluctant readers and insecure writers.  Today’s culture, and its flood of social media, has created, to some degree, more reluctant readers and minimalist writers.

I have brought my personal library of books into my classroom, placing several (nearly book stack100 different titles) on display in my classroom.  I invite students to check out my books any time; if it doesn’t fit for them, I propose they put it back and try another one.  Sometimes, I will even suggest certain titles to certain students, based on their interest, from my personal library.

I encourage students to read books: long ones, short ones, and anything in between.  I require students to read non-fiction, magazine articles, newspaper articles, and longer memoirs.

In various forms, my students write nearly every day.  Some writing is quick and to the point, other writing is extensive and in-depth.

I model writing for my students as often as I can, even so far as placing the two books I have authored on display, inviting my students to read them.  This blog is another option for my students to sample my writing (and, yes, be critical of it too): style, tone, structure, and interest.  Writing in front of them, with them, is a powerful way to teach the writing process.

While I attempt to lure students into literacy, I feel defeated when some st

udents don’t find the appeal of reading and writing and, sooner than
Social media is trending.  Use of multiple forms of technology to communicate is shrinking our world.  Our students are utilizing technology to connect, cooperate, and, ultimately, textingcoexist.later, give up.  In observing students behavior, both socially and academically, I have noticed their keen interest in social media, namely Facebook, Twitter, and texting.  I began to reflect on the effect the “140-Characters-or-Less” era has on our students’ willingness to embrace literacy.

My hypothesis is students don’t have the stamina to sustain long periods of reading and/ortwitter writing because our culture is begging for concise summations in ‘140-Characters-or-Less’.  The effects are numerous, the most obvious being a growing reluctance to read and a shape shift as to what ‘good’ writing looks like.

As a high school ELA teacher, I have embraced technology and social media as a tool in my classroom, an efficient way to connect with my students and move from a traditional classroom to a more blended experience.  However, my concern is balancing the literacy immersion with the concise status updates our culture has encouraged us to compose and read.

There is a place in our world for deep literacy and ’20 second updates’.  We just have to find the right blend for our students to understand, appreciate, and utilize both.  We must promote the relevance of technology and social media in today’s culture and how it might drive deeper reading and in-depth writing.


About jpsteltz

Proud husband and father of four; Literacy Specialist; Reading Teacher; Literacy Coach; HS ELA Teacher; Published Author
This entry was posted in Education, Educational Leadership, Reading, students, Teaching, technology, twitter, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Literacy Stamina and Social Media

  1. I really commend the effort that you obviously put into encouraging your students to read widely and to write for themselves. It’s sad, but the more ‘connected’ we become thanks to social media, the less we communicate, and the more places where we can say things, the less we have to say. Everyone is constantly talking now, but nobody is saying anything, and this is a real shame.

    Liked by 1 person

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