One of the woman writers who made me fall in love with writing, Margaret Atwood, has sung the praises of Twitter and the Internet for boosting literacy in today’s youth. Of course, there will be naysayers who will dismiss her as misguided or radical. But her point, it seems to me, is that any contact with reading and writing is beneficial, particularly contact that is voluntary, not forced. We may assume, too, that even if this contact isn’t “correct” according to (white) English standards, it is still equally valuable. She also points out that Twitter writing is quickly developing into its own genre, or perhaps a corollary genre from other short story/ poem genres. To see one of my favorite examples, check out @VeryShortStory. Lately I’ve been pondering the use of Twitter in my composition classes next semester. In an informal class poll my students overwhelmingly said that if they could choose one new media source to incorporate into their curriculum, it would be Twitter. I’m thinking about using it for reading response. Either by having them tweet from their own accounts or by tweeting from a collective class account, and @ing themselves if they so choose. I can’t imagine a greater way to teach brevity… Find me on Twitter, @JackieHoermann, to let me know if you have any ideas. Happy tweeting! -Jackie

Margaret Atwood Praises Twitter as a Means of Acquiring Literacy

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