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Teachers: Literacy: Word

Last Updated: Wednesday November 30 2005 11:28 GMT

Text messaging


Text message

Classic books and plays will be reduced to a few lines of a text message via a new phone.

As text messages become a part of our way of life, text-style words are appearing in lots of non-phone contexts.

Students look at the differences between standard and non-standard English and use text-speak to rewrite a plot summary and a news story.

Learning aims
  • Identify a type of non-standard English.
  • Learn the characteristics that make it non-standard.
  • Add to existing knowledge of text abbreviations.

Display the word abbreviation. Find out from the class what their definition is.

Abbreviation - a shortened form of a word that has some letters left out.

Show students this abbreviated text summary of Lord of the Rings sent into the Newsround website:

Lord of the Rings: I wnt my rng bak. U cnt hav it. Big fight. Rng in2 vlcno. End.
Neil, 13, Crawley

Snd us txt vrsns of yr fave bk

Ask the class to write a text summary of their favourite book. Use this list of book titles and plot summaries for inspiration. Click on book summaries in the blue box for a printable list.

Show group other text summaries submitted to the Newsround website. Click on comments in the blue box for a printable worksheet.

Main activity

Select a suitable story from the CBBC Newsround website and ask the class to rewrite it in text-speak.

Extension activity

Students can write messages to each other in standard English for conversion into text-speak and vice versa.


Students read out their text plot summaries and text-speak news stories.

Ask students:

  • What are the differences between text-speak and standard English?
  • What are the variations within text-speak itself?
National Curriculum

This lesson covers the following areas of the programme of study:

English. Key Stage 2. En3 Writing

1c. Use language and style that are appropriate to the reader.
6a. How written standard English varies in degrees of formality.
6b. Some of the differences between standard and non-standard English usage.

For hundreds more news-based lesson plans, click on Teachers on the left-hand side

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